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Insights & community focused on all things agrifood innovation

Agtech...So What?

Stories of innovators working at the intersection of agriculture and technology.

Investment in agriculture technology and momentum for agtech entrepreneurship is taking off. But this is not new: farmers have been adopting technologies that add value for decades. So is it just hype? What does all the momentum for agtech- from accelerators to venture capital funds to sexy technologies like drones and robots- actually mean for farmers and the agriculture industry?

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Future Forces – A ten-year horizon for Australian agriculture

Developed in collaboration with AgriFutures and the Institute for the Future (TFTF), this report offers a perspective on the agri-food system’s emerging landscape over the next decade. It aims to start new conversations about opportunities and risks for players along the value chain and within the agricultural system. Rather than providing probabilistic answers about the future, we aim to provide a set of plausible – yet provocative – possibilities that stretch our preconceived notions about the future.

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The agtech adoption dilemma: irrigation

Why everything you think you know about irrigation technology is wrong, and what to do about it.

Irrigation is pivotal to the global agricultural economy. Though only 16% of the world's croplands are irrigated today, those lands produce 36% of the global annual yield. In developing countries, irrigation increases crop yields by 100 to 400%. Further, irrigation allows farmers to reap the economic benefits of growing higher-value cash crops.

Even though the impact of irrigation is impressive, we haven’t done enough to optimize the efficiency of irrigated agriculture. There are several challenges preventing us from unlocking this vital outcome.

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Getting AgTech Ready

The past ten years have seen an explosion of new technologies entering agriculture. This wave of activity holds potential for the agricultural industry. But despite the potential, the volume of activity and the vast range of new products has created confusion and frustration.

To help other producers get value from agtech, we interviewed five innovative farmers on their journey with agtech and captured their tips for getting agtech ready:

  1. Start with the problem
  2. Find technologies that fit your workflows and systems
  3. Evaluate more than the product
  4. Keep it simple and start slow
  5. Look for inspiration and don’t be afraid to ask for help

This eBook and the four accompanying AgTech So What..? podcast episodes were created in partnership with Decipher, an easy-to-use precision agriculture (PA) solution helping growers and agronomists in more than 60 different countries identify and address variability, track growth performance and make data driven decisions. Born within the Industrials Division of Wesfarmers, Decipher draws upon 100 years of agricultural knowledge and expertise in products, soils, research and agronomy.

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Building a globally recognised AgTech ecosystem in Australia

AgTech — the wave of emerging technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and biotechnology coming to food and agriculture — is increasingly creating opportunity for investors, entrepreneurs, farmers and consumers.

With the potential to both benefit Australia’s agricultural sector and create direct economic benefits through commercialisation of new technology, a strong AgTech specialisation would be of substantial benefit to Australia. A goal to lift AgTech’s share of venture capital (VC) in Australia from 1 per cent in 2018 to 20 per cent by 2030 would see AgTech take its place as a national priority and position Australia as a global leader.

This report explores how Australia can build a globally recognised AgTech ecosystem in Australia. Analysing the relationship between American start-up ecosystems and venture capital investment, and in particular looking at the impact that specialisation can have in building successful ecosystems, such as in St Louis, Missouri, offers insight as to how Australia can catalyse the development of the local sector.

Prepared for the United States Study Centre at the University of Sydney, published August 2019

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