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Tim Neale

Tim Neale

MD, DataFarming | President, AusAgritech

The Transition to Digital Agronomy – How Technology is Helping the Grains Industry

Farm size is only getting bigger, and in fact it has doubled in the past 30 years in Australia. The pressures on farmers and agronomists today also means that getting across the vast amount of country to check for issues such as weeds, pests, and diseases is becoming increasingly difficult – made even worse by the lack of people. Some corporates have field sizes in excess of 2000ha – how on earth can we manage that area effectively? Coupled with this is the fact that yield varies by around 300% in every paddock, meaning we can produce a lot more grain and more profit, but we are limiting the potential. We keep treating all parts of the paddock the same. Rates of seed, fertiliser and chemical are applied at the same rate irrespective of this huge variation.

Technology is the only logical answer to help solve these challenges! In what he calls Digital Agronomy, Tim Neale’s DataFarming operation uses sensors and technology to keep track of what’s going on. Machinery data, satellite imagery, yield monitors, variable rate, moisture and temperature sensors, protein loggers, and automated drones are some of the technologies making managing crops easier and more effective.

Unveiling the Landscape of Australian Agritech: Envisioning 2024 and Beyond

As the Australian agritech sector burgeons with approximately 500 businesses, it reflects a period of sustained growth and fervor spanning over 8 to 10 years. Agritech, at its core, revolves around private enterprises providing tailored solutions to farmers, agronomists, and the wider agricultural community, bolstered by robust research and development efforts. However, to fully realize its potential and seize a larger share of the global agritech market, a cohesive effort is imperative from "Team Australia”. Presently lacking a unified national strategic plan and hindered by ineffective venture capital funding models, Australia lags behind other OECD nations in effectively commercializing its research endeavours. AusAgriTech, the premier association representing Australian agritech enterprises, stands poised to spearhead a collaborative initiative, paving the way for multi-billion-dollar revenues and the creation of thousands of jobs nationwide.

About Tim:

Tim, who was named Australian agricultural consultant of the year 2018, has over 25 years’ experience across Australia and internationally, 20 of which has been running his own businesses. He is co-founder and Managing Director of DataFarming, a seven-year-old agtech business out of Queensland. Tim’s key focus is on adoption of technology, with their digital platform servicing over 36,000 farms across 50 countries. DataFarming was recently awarded Australia’s Best Agritech 2023, and he is also the President of the Australian Agritech Association.
 

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