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AUTONOMOUS FARM MACHINERY ON FARM DOORSTEPS

REVELATIONS of a fully autonomous tractor soon to be released on the US market, demonstrates the importance of Grain Producers Australia’s proactive work to help deliver this technology locally.


GPA Chair, Barry Large, said this week’s announcement showed these time and money saving machines loomed large on the commercial horizon, with multiple benefits for Australian producers.


“GPA is very excited about the real opportunities this technology brings to increase farm productivity and performance and make our lives easier - especially farm labour,” he said.


“That’s why we’re continuing to work with our partners and implement the ‘Code of Practice for Agricultural Mobile Field Machinery with Autonomous Functions in Australia’.


“This week’s revelation that John Deere’s fully autonomous tractor is ready for large-scale production, and available to farmers later this year, signals we’re on the right track by working proactively to create a responsible, smart pathway for accessing this technology here in Australia.”


This Code was developed in a joint project led by farm technology expert, Dr Rohan Rainbow, with GPA working with the Tractor and Machinery Association of Australia and Society of Precision Agriculture Australia since 2019, collaborating across industry and stakeholders.


Mr Large said the Code was finalised last year and presented to the WA Government for formal endorsement and adoption in a process which has also been supported by expert briefings.


“We are encouraged this project is being viewed as a proactive initiative to support the delivery of this technology in Australia, and ensure it addresses community concerns and standards,” he said.


“We look forward to working further with the WA government and other stakeholders, along with WAFarmers as one of GPA’s State Members, to reach final endorsement.”


Mr Large said he was pleased the media reporting on this week’s product announcement had also focused on the practical benefits autonomous farm machinery can provide for farmers.


“In releasing to the US market, the US-based company said the autonomous tractor “serves a specific purpose: feeding the world” while highlighting the challenges farmers face,” he said.


“Australian farmers are also playing our part looking into the future at what’s needed to feed a world population that’s expected to reach about 10 billion people by 2050.


“If we’re expected to feed more people who may eat more and live longer – but with more constrained resources, biosecurity challenges, labour demands, etc. – then adopting new technologies, such as machines farmers can operate remotely, is critical to the job. And it’s also critical for Australian farmers to remain competitive on the global food production stage.”


* Image supplied by John Deere..


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