Source: AgriFutures Australia
While traditionally sectors like defence and mining have been testing grounds for frontier space technology, recent advances, namely in satellites, have opened a wealth of opportunity for Australia's rural industries.
Less well known is that everyday technologies found on Australian farms and on boats are powered by technology from space – including satellite imaging, low-bandwidth sensors, GPS tracking, autosteer machinery, paddock-level imagery and weather forecasts. These technologies are a consequence of recent advances, though the scope and opportunity for rural industries is only just being realised.
The application of space technology has already translated to safer farms, more digitally enabled and connected rural businesses, improved environmental management, increased water efficiency, better input management and better market integration. Importantly, industry experiencing these benefits encourages a more global mindset. The opportunities are limitless.
But what else does it mean? As space technology evolves and offers new ways of doing business, producers are grappling with the scope and scale of opportunity. We are only now on the cusp of realising the extent to which these technologies can be pathways to increased productivity, or ways to solve producer pain points.
This report delves into technologies already deployed in rural industries – from livestock farming, horticulture and broadacre crops to fishing, aquaculture and forestry. It aims to consolidate and prioritise space technologies with the greatest potential and to understand barriers to adoption.
It is designed as a resource for producers and industry so they can understand the various uses of space technology, and for technology developers so they are aware of the needs of industry. It analyses the technical and practical considerations of technology adoption. It also scans for innovations with the potential to benefit the sector over a five-to-10-year horizon and determines their relevance and/ or transferability to Australia's rural industries.
Overall, this report arms producers, industry, governments and technology developers with a better understanding and appreciation of the breadth and depth of opportunity that space technologies offer rural industries, as well as what's coming, and delivers practical guidance on pathways to adoption.