TAKING ACTION: EcoRich Grazing's Col Paton and CiboLabs' Phil Tickle demonstrate pasture budgeting for calibration of remote sensing technology at the Maranoa Field Day.
TAKING ACTION: EcoRich Grazing's Col Paton and CiboLabs' Phil Tickle demonstrate pasture budgeting for calibration of remote sensing technology at the Maranoa Field Day. Rhonda Toms-Morgan

New technology changes the future of farming in the drought

NEW technology is at the forefront in changing the business of farming for drought preparedness and resilience.

More than 100 primary producers from the Maranoa were able to hear from experts and see practical demonstrations at the Technology for a Better Farm Field Day, hosted by Echo Hills Farming Company earlier this month.

The event was funded by GrazingFutures, an initiative of the Queensland Government to improve drought preparedness and resilience for primary producers, and Maranoa Regional Council through funding from the Tackling Regional Adversity through Integrated Care grant program.

Echo Hills grazier Peter Thompson said there were a lot of exciting advances in agriculture, and as access to new technology and connectivity improves, there were real opportunities for not just on-farm efficiencies, but improvements that will benefit the whole operation, including people and communities from the dirt up.

"The technology is making life better for people rather than technology replacing people, encouraging more people to live regionally,” he said.

The Echo Hills team has been trialling remote cattle Walk-Over-Weigh technology, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries' Grazing Futures Project.

Mr Thompson said it allowed the team to remotely monitor daily weight gain in their cattle herd and support timely decision making.

The field day also covered advances in telemetry and satellite data, and sessions on mastering technology

It was delivered by a range of producers and local industry experts including EcoRich Grazing's Col Paton (forage budgeting and how to use it for decision making), Tropical Beef Technology Services' Tim Emery (herd recording and animal performance), Phil Tickle (automating estimates for feedbase management), Tim Driver (Precision Pastoral) and Grazing Futures' Andrea McKenzie.

ConnectAg event co-ordinator Rhonda Toms-Morgan told The Western Star the range of producers and local industry experts helped attendees make the most of any data collected by either technology already in use, or new innovations.

"The Echo Hills Farming team gave their warts and all experience of using the technology and what they hoped to learn as the project continues,” she said.

"The day also gave all of us a chance to access services we might not have realised we needed.

"Staff from the Royal Flying Doctor Service were on hand and helped with the overall 'health pit stop' opportunity for attendees with their services booked out all day as people made the time to check in.”

Ms Toms-Morgan said another specialist speaker included in the program was Mary O'Brien from Are You Bogged Mate?

"Mary's efforts are making a difference and saving lives,” she said.



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