InFarm managing director Jerome Leray on why Goondiwindi is Australia’s AgTech capital, and what he sees as the biggest barrier to greater AgTech uptake in Australia
It’s a big claim but one agricultural technology specialist Jerome Leray is happy to defend.
In his view the Goondiwindi region has a compelling case to be regarded as the agtech capital of Australia, given the number of agricultural innovations that have germinated in the region.
The Queensland-New South Wales border town may only have a population of 15,000 people, but Mr Leray points out it has produced several agricultural innovations that have helped to change agricultural systems all over the world.
Innovations to have been conceived and developed in the diverse agricultural region surrounding Goondiwindi have included spot spraying technology, controlled traffic farming, autonomous tractors, remote sensing, soil-moisture monitoring, large-scale boom spraying equipment, and on-farm connectivity.
Mr Leray’s own Goondiwindi-based company InFarm has pioneered the development of artificial intelligence and drone-to-tractor weed identification technology that is enabling farmers to standard variable rate sprayers into spot sprayers and achieve significant savings in chemical requirements and costs.
Punching above its weight
“Goondiwindi has an incredible agtech story,” Mr Leray said.
“There is more agricultural technology developed here in this area per capita than anywhere else, and technology developed here goes out and literally changes agriculture worldwide.”
Examples included pioneering RTK guidance controlled traffic systems, the development by local farmers of autonomous tractor systems well in advance of the global machinery brands, the world’s largest boom sprays and Goanna Telemetry systems giving farmers unprecedented knowledge of soil moisture levels.
He said the region’s growing reputation for agtech creativity is building momentum as more agricultural innovators and startups are drawn to the region.
Goondiwindi had a rich history when it came to ag innovation but was “very good at keeping quiet about its achievements” he said.
In order to help to share that story and draw attention to the innovative nature of farming in the region, and to give consumers the opportunity to meet with local farmers and to sample locally-grown produce, a committee was formed last year to conduct the inaugural “Discover Farming” festival.
The second “Discover Farming” in Goondiwindi is being held this month and like the first last year will feature a series of farm visits and food events throughout May. This event is expected to be even bigger again after the organising recently received a grant through Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and the Building Better Regions Fund to promote the festival to international visitors.
Jerome Leray explains more about what Discover Farming in the video below:
For more details about this year’s Discover Farming event in Goondiwindi click here: https://www.discoverfarming.