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Smart Farm Project Launched in Queensland

The Queensland Government has teamed up with a research foundation in North Sydney for a $9 million smart farm partnership aimed at accelerating the adoption of AgTech in the Queensland horticulture sector.

As part of the partnership, the Gatton Research Facility will be equipped with new infrastructure including climate-controlled glasshouses, a retractable-roof protected cropping structure and cold rooms with the latest controlled-atmosphere technology. The Gatton Smart Farm will also be provided with tools and technology designed to manage common farm pests and diseases.

The Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities stated that the smart farm will be a centre of AgTech innovation. He stated that together with industry and commercial partners, the government will create an environment that fosters innovation and problem-solving. With agriculture an essential industry and such an important part of Queensland’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan, there is a need to lay the foundations of the future of the industry.

The new infrastructure will also boost existing R&D by equipping research staff with the latest tools and technology to manage pests such as serpentine leafminer, fall armyworm and vegetable diseases. The centre will seek to accelerate the adoption of AgTech and automation, develop climate-resilient protected cropping systems and harness new post-harvest technologies to develop both domestic and export-ready supply chain systems. All research outcomes will be shared nationally through the foundation’s regional extension team as well as the industry-led VegNET program.

AgTech development and adoption is key to the profitability and responsiveness of Queensland’s agriculture supply chain. The Queensland Government is committed to accelerating AgTech in this sector and through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, positioning Queensland as a world leader.

Queensland’s AgTech vision is to connect, inspire, and support the AgTech ecosystem. The aim is to build a responsive and agile agribusiness and food sector by embracing industry transformation through AgTech solutions, and enhanced digital capability.

To bring together researchers, development specialists and professionals to unleash the potential of AgTech. The Government’s focus is to:

  • drive practice change by supporting Queensland agribusinesses to commence a journey to identify, explore, and adopt AgTech where it’s beneficial.
  • support agribusinesses to improve productivity, profitability and sustainability through AgTech solutions.
  • coordinate and connect with Queensland agribusiness by enhancing relationships, industry partnerships and learnings.
  • explore the potential for adopting digital applications and decision support systems.

Future trends – a new normal

The industry forecast is one with the lot— new and emerging technologies in robotics, packaging materials, biotechnology, digital and wireless systems, weather and animal monitoring, geospatial, and precision agriculture, just to name a few.

The Government is helping to evaluate Queensland agriculture’s tech-readiness and the ability to cope with disruptions of all types, including natural disasters. These challenges have inspired focus on transforming Queensland into a world leader in adopting innovative solutions in agriculture.

Exploring Frontiers

The future will be complex and unpredictable, but the opportunities to grow and prosper through the adoption of AgTech are significant. AgTech, particularly digital developments, has the potential to transform the landscape of agribusiness. Exploring Frontiers provides a snapshot of cutting-edge technologies on the horizon for agribusinesses.

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