Small farms slow to take up tech­nol­ogy

Tasmanian Country - - THE STOCK REPORT -

THE up­take of tech­nol­ogy by Aus­tralian farm­ers has been de­scribed as “lim­ited and mod­est” by Rabobank agri­cul­tural an­a­lyst Wes­ley Le­froy.

And small-scale beef, sheep and dairy pro­duc­ers are drag­ging the chain, with the low­est rate of up­take of any group of sur­veyed farm­ers, a new study by the bank has found.

Rabobank pre­sented a re­port on new tech­nolo­gies at Sheep­ven­tion, which drew on in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by 1000 of their farm­ing clients.

How­ever, the rea­sons for the slow up­take were var­ied, and in many cases may be be­cause tech­nol­ogy and soft­ware are not meet­ing farm­ers’ needs.

Mr Le­froy’s study found of those farm­ers us­ing the tech­nolo­gies, only a lim­ited pro­por­tion was us­ing the data to help make de­ci­sions to lift their busi­ness prof­itabil­ity.

Only 23 per cent of farm­ers sur­veyed used sen­sor tech­nol­ogy such as drones, mois­ture probes, ir­ri­ga­tion mon­i­tors or yield map­ping.

Mr Le­froy said there were “clearly bar­ri­ers to adop­tion hold­ing back the farm sec­tor from re­ceiv­ing the value promised by dig­i­tal agri­cul­ture”.

“The value propo­si­tion (or re­turn on in­vest­ment) for many sen­sor tech­nolo­gies sim­ply isn’t ar­tic­u­lated clearly enough for farm­ers to de­ter­mine they can gen­er­ate a profit from it,” he said.

Farms with in­comes above $1 mil­lion a year had the high­est rate of up­take, 57 per cent. Just 10 per cent of busi­nesses with in­comes be­low $300,000 had adopted the tech­nol­ogy.

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