The dust has settled following our inaugural evokeAG. the event last month in Melbourne and it’s the perfect time to reflect on the success of the two-day agrifood tech triumph. Crunching the numbers from the sell-out event, we look back at three break-out sessions which drew some of the biggest crowds.
It’s no surprise that technology and its place in the production of food was a key theme, piquing the interest of more than 1,000 foodies, farmers and agtech attendees. With an emphasis on a swelling global population – tipped to be nine-billion people by 2050 – panellists probed deeply into cutting edge technologies that are helping producers work smarter.
01 – Farmers of the future – robots, AI and 24/7 farming
Day 1 started strong, with delegates converging at Farmers of the Future, looking at robots, artificial intelligence and 24/7 farming. Sponsored by Westpac, this fascinating discussion delved into the rapidly advancing automation of growing food, from autonomous harvesting to industrial warehouse automation. The thought-provoking session boasted experience from within the industry to scientists pushing the envelope. Queensland farmer and SwarmFarm Robotics founder Andrew Bate shared the stage with researcher Dr Chris Lehnert and Israel’s Nitza Kardish from Trendlines, looking at how robots can help fill the gaps and meet needs where traditional farming methods are no longer practical or sustainable. From crop harvesting robots to micro-machines with a difference, the speakers unpacked what the future – and fruit pickers – could look like, and it’s looking less English backpacker and more R2-D2.
02 – IoT and big data analysis – driving efficiencies from farm to plate
AI met IoT on Day 2 during a packed break-out session, with a popular discussion on big data analysis and how internet connection can help drive productivity from paddock to plate. The Yield’s Ros Harvey looked at the startling data that the world needs 60 per cent more food by 2050. Fellow panellist David Smith represented his company Ceres Tag, asking how internet connectivity can boost efficiency – in his case, using smart livestock ear tags to monitor movement and herd health. They were joined by Chris McLoghlin from Escavox, who is searching to understand and fix issues in the fresh food supply chain – food waste in Australia alone holding an annual, mind-boggling price tag of $20 billion.
03 – Alternative farming – a new frontier
Coming in at number three, the crowd’s next top pick examined smart farming and how it can empower food and fibre producers. A diverse panel of thought leaders including James Pateras from Modular Farms, Dror Tamir of Hargol Food Tech, Olympia Yarger from Goterra and Emma Parsons of Agrigate looked at how software tools can maximise decision making; from the agronomist using captured data to track crop development, to the farmer optimising their fertiliser thanks to satellite imagery. From leaders in space technology and the aero sector to those navigating artificial intelligence, the panel was expertly moderated by AgThentic’s Sarah Nolet, whose experience with commercialising agribusiness technologies was met with huge interest.
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