Transcript: Game-changers in agriculture presentation

Slide 1:

Title page: ‘Game-changers in Agriculture’.


Slide 2:

The Problem: Unsustainable Agricultural Practices

The agriculture industry is crucial. It provides food and essential products to people worldwide. However, as agricultural areas expand to meet demand, they require a larger labour force and become difficult to manage using traditional methods.

Traditional farming looks at entire agricultural areas as a single unit to manage, ignoring the variations in soil type, topography, and other factors that impact crop growth. This approach often leads to an over-application of water, fertiliser, or pesticides in some areas and an under-application in others, resulting in a range of issues like low-quality crops, pollution, soil degradation, waste, and increased costs for farmers.


Slide 3:

The Solution: Precision Agriculture Part 1

Precision agriculture is a farming technique that uses technology to improve the production and harvest of crops, reduces waste, and increases profitability for the farmer. It involves collecting and analysing data from various sources, like satellite imagery, drone data, and digital sensors placed in the soil. This data is then analysed by computer programmes and algorithms to provide insights into the condition of the crops and help farmers make informed decisions about when to plant, fertilise, irrigate, and harvest them.


National Geographic (10 July 2014) ‘What Happens When Farming Goes High-Tech’ (video), National Geographic, YouTube, accessed 3 May 2022.

Davis, G, Casady W, Massey, R (1998) Precision Agriculture: An Introduction, University of Missouri Extension website,


Slide 4:

The Solution: Precision Agriculture Part 2

Automated equipment, like drones and unmanned tractors with GPS, can then be used to apply water, fertilisers, and pesticides precisely. Rather than uniformly spraying large areas, farmers using this technique can make sure the crops get the right about of water, nutrients, and pesticides, and minimise the environmental impact by using less water and reducing the amount of chemicals being sprayed.


Goedde L, Katz J, Ménard, A, and Revellat, J (9 October 2020) ‘Agriculture’s connected future: How technology can yield new growth’, McKinsey & Company, accessed 3 May 2023.


Slide 5:

Did You Know?

Approximately 4,986 km2 (498,629 hectares) of farmland was negatively affected by high rainfall and flooding in Victoria in 2022. For reference, the entire city of Adelaide only covers 3,260 km2.


Victoria State Government (2023) Farm management: Flood and storm impacts in late 2022, Agriculture Victoria website, accessed 1 May 2023.


Precision agriculture can be used in many ways to minimise the impact of flooding, and drones are a great tool. Check out a few ways drones can be used on the next slide.


Slide 6:

The Solution: Precision Agriculture Part 3

  • Drone data and images can create detailed maps of the elevation of fields. These maps help programs figure out the areas most prone to flooding. Farmers can then take action to build up these areas or plan interventions.
  • These maps can also show the ideal places for farmers to put drainage systems to move excess water away from the crops.
  • If flooding does occur, drones can quickly cover a large area and take detailed photographs to assess the condition of crops and livestock, so that farmers can quickly see where intervention is needed. This is especially useful on large farms.


Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (8 February 2023) ‘The flight of drones in farming’, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, accessed 26 April 2023.


Slide 7:

The Problem: Ineffective Irrigation

Irrigation is when water is artificially directed to crops, plants, or soil. It’s a crucial part of growing a healthy crop, but when irrigation isn’t managed effectively it can lead to issues like waterlogging, which damages plant roots and the soil, washing away nutrients. Crops can be wasted, it’s a huge waste of energy and water, and it risks damaging ecosystems. That’s where smart irrigation systems come in.


Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (8 February 2023) ‘The flight of drones in farming’, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, accessed 26 April 2023.


Slide 8:

The Solution: Smart Irrigation

Smart irrigation uses in-ground sensors and data to monitor things like temperature, moisture levels, and water content. The system can then automatically adjust the flow of water to certain areas or crops. Smart irrigation is linked to satellites, weather forecasts, and historical weather patterns, so it can change watering schedules to match the seasons. And farmers can keep track of all this from anywhere on their smartphones.


Jeffery, C and Becker, J (18 March 2021) ‘Smart irrigation technology hailed as ‘game changer’ by researchers’, ABC Rural, accessed 3 May 2023.


Slide 9:

Did You Know?

Drought is the single biggest cause of agricultural production loss. In times of drought, the agriculture sector absorbs 82% of the impact.


FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) (2021) The impact of disasters and crises on agriculture and food security: 2021, FAO website, accessed 3 May 2023.


Precision agriculture and smart irrigation systems cannot prevent drought from occurring, but they can help farmers prepare and conserve the most precious resource – water.


Slide 10:

The Solution in Use: Smart Irrigation and Drought

Water is a precious resource, and even more so in times of drought and fire risk. Smart irrigation systems have helped farmers in in Australia and many other countries conserve water by ensuring they only use what is necessary. Smart irrigation systems can be used as early warning systems that crops are at risk, as they can monitor soil moisture levels and temperature. Since smart irrigation and sprinkler systems can be remotely monitored, so farmers can stay at a safe distance during extreme weather.


Farmers for Climate Action (FCA) (2023) Climate Smart Agriculture Toolkit, FCA website, accessed 3 May 2023.

Mugisha, J (11 April 2022) ‘Smart irrigation saves water, improves farming practices in Rwanda’s remote drought-stricken region’, InfoNile, accessed 3 May 2023.


Slide 11:

If you’re keen to explore more ways innovation is changing the agricultural sector, here are a few topics you can research:

  • self-watering soil
  • laser scarecrows
  • vertical farming
  • agricultural biotechnology
  • AI-powered farming robots


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