Two AgTech demonstration farms will be established in the South East heralding a new future for State Government-owned research centres.
At the Struan Research Centre today, Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone announced a partnership between the Marshall Liberal Government and Elders to trial emerging agricultural technologies, with a focus on the livestock sector, at the Struan and Kybybolite research farms.
"Our government recognises the importance of our regional research centres and today’s announcement of a Memorandum of Understanding with Elders is about adding to and diversifying our research farms to encourage growth in the uptake of cutting-edge technology," said Minister Whetstone.
"The importance of encouraging our farmers to adopt new technology and the use of demonstration farms with data accessible to all, were concepts highlighted during my recent trip to Israel.
"I’m particularly excited about the Digital Farm – an AgTech demonstration site – that will allow farmers to experience AgTech solutions in a real-world context from monitoring stock and crops to on-farm connectivity.
"Once the farms are developed, primary producers will be able to experience relevant AgTech and latest animal genetics and pasture varieties, as well as modern-day water utilisation, disease management and grazing strategies.
"We know that it’s challenging for farmers to keep up with the rapid pace of innovation and change in farming practices, especially when they are often consumed by the day-to-day running of their businesses and properties.
"The Marshall Liberal Government and Elders recognised the value in a strategic partnership to develop and lead a coalition of research organisations, key suppliers and government agencies to collectively help farmers from research through to commercialisation.
"This partnership at the Struan and Kybybolite research centres will allow us to achieve so much more, to ultimately increase productivity of farmers in our state.
"I see opportunities across our regional research centres to attract private investment and work hand in hand with Government to grow the adoption of AgTech for South Australian producers."
The partnership will form part of the Thomas Elder Institute, Elders’ newly established research, development and extension facility.
Member for MacKillop Nick McBride said it was fantastic for the State Government to be establishing this partnership in the South East.
"The South East has such a proud and vibrant agriculture sector and to have this partnership between the State Government and Elders at the Struan and Kybybolite research farms is a great result for the region," said Mr McBride.
"This partnership will allow local farmers as well as those from across the state to come and see the benefits the adoption of AgTech could have to their businesses."
Elders Managing Director Mark Allison said Elders’ focus on digital agriculture innovation and development, and extensive agronomy and adviser network, would deliver data-driven insights to assist its clients.
"This government-industry collaboration will enable a world-class sustainable farming enterprise that will provide a platform for new research activities, ground-truthing of new technologies and demonstrating the latest commercial products, as well as being a resource for ongoing industry education," said Mr Allison.
"Development of Struan and Kybybolite farms will provide a strong link between the cutting-edge research happening in South Australia, nationally and internationally, including digital agriculture and data insights and the implementation of those developments by farmers to improve their productivity and strengthen their businesses.
"Our focus at Elders is on helping people to find success with their agricultural business and supporting the Australian agricultural industries and we’re excited about working with the South Australian Government to achieve this."