Cattle in Pasture

Zero Sum Game

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  • Colin Lea, BBus (Ag Comm), BA, GDFP, CFP®

Bringing AI, Tech and Start-Up Thinking to Agriculture

Emerging technologies are proving to be a key driver in the future sustainability and profitability of Australian agriculture, delivering increased efficiencies in production and detailed analysis of data, enabling farming productions cycles to evolve at a rate never seen before thanks to the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

When I left the farm for the Army in 1993, we were starting to see the adoption of new technologies in broad-acre cropping machinery, into new methods of production through minimum tillage and direct drill farming. Use of technology in artificial insemination programs was developing, as was the use of software systems in bookkeeping and paddock management systems.

Over the last couple of decades the development of Tech in agribusiness and farming has accelerated and we are now on the tipping point of Tech developing at such speeds not previously thought of, such that developments that would previously take years will be months, months in weeks, weeks in days. To make the next evolution will require producers and business owners to make the connection between AgTech and FinTech and link this to a start-up mindset.

So what is a start-up mindset?

"Having a positive startup mentality is synonymous with being innovative and able to adapt to the ever-changing market. It means being extremely purpose-driven, always thinking outside the box, and working at a fast pace."


Some things that typify a start up mind set and the use of tech includes:

  • Treat every day as Day One (Amazon); every day should be as intense and fevered as Day One.

  • Seek to be Disruptors; test common beliefs, look at ways to adapt, seek to disrupt markets and supply chains for the benefit of both producers and consumers.

  • Be a Market Maker; seek to increase profitability by controlling the point you 'mark to market' and cut out the middle man.

  • Embrace Redundancy; as in seek to make processes redundant. If Tech can do something you would otherwise do, embrace it, directing your freed up time to focus on refining other processes.

  • Rise of the Drones; seek to use AI to automate machinery (tractors, harvesters, spraying, warehouse production lines, produce screening, paddock mapping, fence-line checking) to leverage the data processing capabilities that AI can deliver.

  • Engage Subject Matter Experts; address known knowledge gaps and leapfrog start up project success rates

In summary the continual evolution of AI and Tech is going to posture for success those primary producers and agribusiness firms that embrace Tech to deliver compounding change to their enterprises, making them the industry and sector leaders for their fields of expertise, setting the standard for future generations in agriculture.

"Technology has transformed many of the industries around us, and

agriculture, as the least digitised globally, has seen momentum for the

development and commercialisation of agricultural technologies (“AgTech”)

growing. The sector is attracting new perspectives and capital, as well as

emerging technologies."

(AgriFutures, 2018)

If you'd like to discuss how AgTech and a Start-Up culture mindset can enhance your Farming and Agribusiness enterprise, reach out and connect to start the conversation. Remember, every day is Day One...

Cheers, Col


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