The new era of farming - driverless tractors

Australian farmers produce over 90% of Australia’s domestic food supply. In the next 15 years, Australian agriculture has the potential to generate $1.2 trillion as world food demand doubles. 

Yet productivity growth has slowed, commodity prices are similar to what they were 20 years ago and input costs have risen considerably the question must be asked, how can farmers do more with less?  

Agtech innovations are critical to sustainable farming.

The reality of precision agricultural technology, such as driverless tractors and drones, to increase productivity is here. Australian farmers have a thirst for new technologies, access to which means less stress and more time freed up for other more important things.

USQ researchers are working to provide Australian farmers with first-user access to cutting-edge technology.

USQ is a leading innovator in agricultural research; working together with industry to develop new technologies. Researchers within USQ’s National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture (NCEA) are working with industry and leading global machinery manufacturers to accelerate access to innovative driverless tractor technology, showcasing the benefits of this technology to key agricultural stakeholders.

Driverless tractor technology has the potential to optimise on-farm operations and provide a safer and less stressful working environment for farm workers and their families.

In other research and central to the development of new agricultural technologies by USQ is a partnership with global agricultural machinery giant, John Deere. The focus of this collaboration is to develop the next generation of technology that will be encountered on farm including, machine automation and control to improve producer productivity in all aspects of the growing cycle. The research partnership will benefit growers in Australia and globally by reducing agricultural production costs through precise management of farming inputs and maximising yields and profits with greater intelligence.

We are working alongside USQ’s respected researchers... providing tools for agriculture to feed, fuel and clothe the increasing global population
Peter Wanckel
Australian Managing Director (John Deere)

USQ has been a national leader in the agricultural application of sensor, robotic and computing technologies and now has a drone program that has taken flight with several industry collaborations. Tomorrow’s farmers will look to the skies not just at the ground.

Innovation doesn't stop here 

Using machine vision to identify unhealthy crop areas will mean direct benefits for the cotton, grains, pastures and viticulture industries. Farmers will have access to a different view of their paddock with diagnostics that detect where the problems exist and what they might be. This research is aimed at increasing on-farm productivity by heading off crop health problems and reducing the use of unnecessary or poorly timed applications of herbicide, pesticide and fertiliser.

 

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