This week, Australia celebrates National Science week, an annual event acknowledging the contributions of Australian scientists. It also provides an opportunity for to recognise and celebrate the symbiotic relationship between the science and agriculture sectors which continue to work together to create and embrace innovation.
By 2050, the global population is set to grow to 9 billion, 2 billion more than today. To feed, clothe and grow amenity for this increased population, the planet will have to produce more in the next three decades than all farmers in history have harvested over the past 8,000 years. As farmers are called on to increase production while reducing their ecological footprint and input resources, research outcomes and technology that can deliver real solutions are becoming increasingly important.
Queensland’s agriculture sector has been recognised as a key enabler of various seed industries in a report developed by the CSIRO and the Queensland University of Technology’s Centre for Future Enterprise, and commissioned by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science. With opportunities in microalgal and macroalgal resources, agricultural sensors and automation, and supply chain provenance technologies. Queensland farmers are utilising innovation and efficiencies on farm to reduce their impact on the environment through industry Best Management Practice programs. While the sector values organic materials and nutrients, adopting a range of on-farm circular strategies to retain and reuse them while managing any biosecurity risks. The Queensland Farmers’ Federation is also contributing to the adoption and utilisation of agricultural innovation, teaming up with Enzen Australia and National Narrowband Network Company for a new digital farming project planting smart meters and sensors on farms to cover the end-to-end operations of the properties.
There are a range of new opportunities for Australian agriculture to expand and meet increasing product demand, while doing so sustainably and in increasingly challenging environments. Working together with science, the adoption of emerging home-grown technology and innovation could help agriculture respond to future trends and catalyse the transformational change needed in terms of profitability, sustainability and productivity.