27 May 2021

A busload of AgTech entrepreneurs is hitting the road this week to work directly with primary producers in the Riverland on technology gaps on-farm.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the AgTech road trip – which will be at Loxton on Friday – is a practical example of how the Marshall Liberal Government is supporting initiatives to encourage the adoption of technology.

"The AgTech Strategic Plan identified networking and collaboration as a priority, so the road trip is about connecting farmers with AgTech entrepreneurs from a range of backgrounds," Minister Basham said.

"Reports have suggested increasing the uptake of technology on-farm could return up to $2.6 billion per annum to the South Australian economy

"The Marshall Liberal Government believes that supporting innovation and advancement in the field of AgTech is essential to increase the productivity, growth and sustainability of the agriculture sector in South Australia.

"This is a mission to deliver AgTech expertise directly to farmers. The entrepreneurs will visit producers on their farms, kick the dirt, see their operations, and get a first-hand understanding of their challenges and opportunities.

"By the end of the road trip, we hope the participating farmers can work with those involved to understand where technology can improve their on-farm productivity and share this experience with others."

Local Member for Chaffey Tim Whetstone said Ag Tech is at heart of every horticulture and agriculture business in the Riverland.

"It’s about advancing those technologies to increase the competitive advantage with efficiencies and productivity gains. That’s why I set up the AgTech Advisory Committee to allow the advancement of commercialisation with new technologies to keep South Australian farmers, in particular the Riverland food producers at the cutting edge," Mr Whetstone said.

"The road trip will be an opportunity for some of our key local primary producers to hear and share ideas on on-farm innovation and technology to improve productivity and use of resources."

One of the organisers Oli Madgett, who is a member of the State Government’s AgTech Advisory Group, said the trip – organised in conjunction with Michael Macolino, AgTech lead at BDO and Emma Leaonard from AgriKnowHow – is about two-way learning.

"This road trip will give AgTech suppliers insight into what Riverland producers need and guide their modification of existing and creation of new technology," said Mr Madgett.

"The end goal is to make agriculture in South Australia more productive, profitable and sustainable."

The University of Adelaide’s Dean of Business, Professor Noel Lindsay said helping farmers and growers in the Riverland region solve their challenges is a key driver of ThincLab Loxton.

"ThincLab is pleased to be partnering with the Adelaide AgTech Meetup group on this important initiative. It is excellent to see start-ups supported by ThincLab are participating in this AgTech road trip, including our Australian eChallenge 2020 winner Artificial Intelligence start up XaminAI, as well as AgTech start-ups Optomni and Airborne Logic," said Professor Lindsay.

Producers from about 12 farms will be involved, representing a cross section of the Riverland farming community, including almond, citrus and grape growers.

Participating producers will get access to a group of AgTech entrepreneurs, who will provide advice on potential technology solutions for their farms.

Producers will see cutting edge technology in action at the Loxton AgTech demonstration farm and attend a workshop hosted by ThincLab Loxton to collaborate on solutions to key challenges identified during the farm visits.

View the media release from the Department of Primary Industries and Regions website.