Terry Griffin

veski sustainable agriculture fellow

Birchip Cropping Group & Kansas State University, USA

Dr Terry Griffin will visit Victoria in early 2018 to help transform the Australian agricultural sector by improving the use of digital agriculture technologies and big data analytics within the Victorian grains industry. The aim of the project is to better use data to reduce labour and input costs, increase yields and profitability as well as enable greater traceability throughout the food supply chain.

Research title: Connectivity, Capability and Trust: Breaking down barriers for farming to create value from data sets

The project will identify and develop strategies to overcome barriers preventing farmers from collecting and collating farm data. Key focuses include lowering the high cost of entry, increasing skill levels among farmers, and tackling the connectivity challenges facing farmers. The team will also develop structures and arrangements to help build farmer trust and confidence in digital agriculture.

In addition, the project will build collaborations with the private sector to develop new digital agriculture services. With greater access to data farmers can make more informed on-farm decisions which lead to greater profitability and sustainability. There is evidence to suggest farm profitability gains in the region of 10-15 per cent are possible with improved use of data in agriculture. Modelling undertaken by Accenture in 2015 identified a potential economic benefit of $125/ha where farm data is used to improve decision-making across the agricultural supply chain and supporting industries. Also, quality assurance, including food traceability, will help Australian farmers maintain access to the lucrative Asian markets, which generate a premium of 20 per cent.

This transformative project will also deliver a range of environmental benefits and reduce environmental risks by ensuring farmers have access to information to help them determine the appropriate amount of fertiliser and pesticides for seasonal conditions instead of using a ‘rule of thumb’ approach. The adoption of new technologies and improved analysis within Australia’s farming sector will also deliver new jobs for people wanting to live in rural Victoria and Australia. Terry and his collaborators will also provide support and evidence to fast track the development of a Data Co-Op, which is a new community enterprise being designed for farming communities across the state.