Big opportunity in digital agriculture with $1.5 million investment
25 June 2015
Australia’s Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, today announced $1.5 million in funding for a CSIRO project to provide farmers with practical information and advice on ways to use soil to reduce input costs and improve production in their cropping paddocks and pastures.
Minister Joyce, speaking at the Soil, Big Data and the Future of Agriculture event in Canberra, said the nation’s farmers relied on healthy soil to support the $54 billion in agricultural production expected in 2015–16.
“Agriculture plays a critical role in building our nation’s wealth today and tomorrow—and soil management plays a critical role in building agriculture,” Minister Joyce said.
“To support the long-term viability and productivity of our farm businesses, as well as positive environmental outcomes, our farmers, scientists and policy makers need access to the best available information and tools.
“This project will develop an interactive system to give farmers near real-time information about their farms, for example, helping to identify the crop varieties likely to give the best returns for the seasonal conditions.
“It will increase the digital connections between climate, soil and other information, and aims to give farmers information and improved spatial resolution to help them reduce their input costs and optimise their production.
“This project takes the science out of the lab, converts it into a useful format and puts it in the hands of farmers.
“This project will build on our previous investments in soil, including the SoilMapp iPad app, along with the work of CSIRO and others on agricultural models and satellite data for farmers’ use.
“This project, funded under the National Landcare Programme, underlines the government’s commitment to innovation, and sits well alongside the $26.7 million in projects announced through the Rural R&D for Profit programme last month.”