17 October 2023

CSU summit piques interest of agriculture leaders as future of farming is revealed with touch of buttons

| Jarryd Rowley
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two men and a farm spray equipment

Hutcheon and Pearce Wagga integrated solutions manager Hamish Ross and Global Digital Farm director Jonathan Medway with the Global Unmanned Spray System (GUSS) in action. Photo: Jarryd Rowley.

Charles Sturt University hosted many of Australia’s agricultural leaders last week for a Digital Farming Summit that showcased future practices and technology for the industry.

Hundreds of delegates from across the country took part in digital tours to learn about technological advancements in the agricultural field.

Global Digital Farm director Jonathan Medway said CSU students and delegates were able to learn a great deal from the variety of speakers and tours.

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“It has really been quite amazing,” Mr Medway said.

“The amount of people who have expressed their interest and come out to the summit has been very encouraging.

“They have seen a broad range of applications. We have seen companies who are quite keen to test their services and technology on the farming plots we have out here at the university.

“We’ve had researchers willing to come and work with us in this space. To be working with them collaboratively is such a rewarding opportunity. It allows the students to gather a hands-on experience while also allowing different companies to try out their technology and techniques.”

an unmanned spraying system and a drone on a farm

Unmanned technology such as the GUSS and drones are predicted to become more commonplace on farms across Australia in the next decade. Photo: Jarryd Rowley.

Mr Medway said the digital farming space was used to demonstrate the applications of new technology for government policymakers and regulators while also allowing people and businesses to experience technology they wouldn’t normally be exposed to.

“This is what a farm of the future will look like and it is going to be awesome,” he said.

One of the machines that industry leaders believe will be used in the future is a satellite-guided unmanned spray system (GUSS).

screens used to control and monitor unmanned spraying systems on farms

GUSS’s path is made via satellite and controlled on screens such as those pictured. Photo: Jarryd Rowley.

Hutcheon and Pearce Wagga integrated solutions manager Hamish Ross said the use of unmanned machinery such as GUSS would eventually be the norm across Australia.

“GUSS was developed in California between 2013 and 2017 and can do the job of two conventional gas sprayers,” Mr Ross said.

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“One person can monitor up to four units, which means it is a labour-saving alternative that can turn a six or seven-person job into one.”

Mr Ross believes we could see unmanned machines become more commonplace in Australia in the next decade.

“We’re doing some really impressive demonstrations around not only NSW but around the country. A lot of our customers are seeing a lot of value and are becoming increasingly interested in using products like GUSS for orchards, vineyards and whatnot.”

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