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Satellites are the new tractors of agriculture

- October 5, 2020 < 1 MIN READ
It’s World Space Week, October 4-10, with the theme ‘satellites improve life’, and AgriFutures Australia is marking the occasion by getting farmers to turn their attention on space technologies.

An upcoming AgriFutures Australia collaboration with the Australian National University (ANU)  is exploring why farmers should be looking to space to solve industry challenges.

Space technologies – think satellite imaging, low bandwidth sensors, GPS tracking, paddock level imagery and weather forecasting – are not only boosting productivity on farms, they also play a crucial role in early warning systems to better manage and respond to natural disasters.

AgriFutures Australia Manager, National Rural Issues, Jane Lovell said the research her organisation is currently engaged in will deliver key insights into what’s occurring globally alongside practical use cases for producers to navigate space-based technologies on-farm.

“This work will help drive the understanding and literacy of space technology among producers and open their eyes to how they can practically use it to generate productivity and efficiency gains for their business,” she said

Advances in space-based technologies, coupled with reduced launch costs, have created new possibilities and Lovell is urging farmers to rethink what space can offer.

“Typically this type of technology has been the domain of sectors like mining and defence, but the light has been switched on in our understanding of how agricultural industries can also benefit from new space applications and technologies,” she said.

“While the AgriFutures Australia and ANU work will largely focus on producers, it has already stimulated discussions among tech developers, looking at how the application of space technology could also help solve agricultural problems.”