Fus­ing knowl­edge with tech for fu­ture

The Western Star - - RURALWEEKL­Y -

JUST a cen­tury af­ter wide­spread use of the horse-drawn plough, agri­cul­tural tech­nol­ogy has ad­vanced to hav­ing ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence within its grasp.

The Univer­sity of South­ern Queens­land hosted a spe­cial work­shop on emerg­ing con­cepts in agri­cul­tural tech­nolo­gies this week.

The Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence and Deep Learn­ing in Agri­cul­ture event, or­gan­ised by the Queens­land Divi­sion of the Ag In­sti­tute Aus­tralia, pre­sented new tech­nolo­gies from lead­ers in the field, and dis­cussed im­pacts on farm­ing and food pro­duc­tion.

USQ’s Na­tional Cen­tre for En­gi­neer­ing in Agri­cul­ture di­rec­tor, Pro­fes­sor Craig Bail­lie, led a panel of in­dus­try prac­ti­tion­ers who are ac­tively us­ing fu­ture farm­ing tech­nolo­gies in a jour­ney to­wards a “brave new world” of agri­cul­ture.

“With so many tech­nol­ogy solutions, the trick is to hone in on ‘what is the prob­lem now?’ – cou­pling knowl­edge with new tech pro­vides end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties,” Pro­fes­sor Bail­lie said.

“How­ever, where there is a sug­ges­tion that farm­ing can be solved via a math­e­mat­i­cal equa­tion, re­al­ity will fall short. We must em­brace the old and the new.”

The event also fea­tured presentati­ons by fi­nal­ists for the AIA Na­tional Stu­dent Award, the AIA AGM, and a talk from USQ Fac­ulty of Health, En­gi­neer­ing and Sci­ences ex­ec­u­tive dean, Pro­fes­sor Glen Cole­man, on USQ agri­cul­tural ini­tia­tives.

“Suc­cess­ful farm­ing and food pro­duc­tion will de­pend heav­ily on a host of new tech­nolo­gies that will pro­vide in­sights from data,” Pro­fes­sor Bail­lie said.

“While there is pri­mary in­ter­est in ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, big data and ma­chine learn­ing, other tech­nol­ogy con­cepts come into play such as sen­sor sys­tems, as well as au­to­ma­tion and robotics. It’s un­likely that a sin­gle tech­nol­ogy will de­fine the fu­ture of agri­cul­ture.”

PHOTO: MIKE RICHARDS

AG TECH: The USQ event ex­plored new farm tech­nolo­gies.

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