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A new partnership will lead the way for driving the safe and effective arrival of autonomous farm machinery forward, in Australian agriculture. 

Grain Producers Australia, the Tractor and Machinery Association of Australia and the Society of Precision Agriculture Australia have worked together to develop the Code of Practice for Agricultural Mobile Field Machinery with Autonomous Functions in Australia, since 2019. 

The three industry groups have now launched a new program with a three-year partnership that will support the Code’s implementation as one owned and driven by industry, to achieve common goals. 

GPA Southern Grower Director and RD&E Spokesperson, Andrew Weidemann, AM, said the partnership will also help increase the level of awareness and knowledge about the development and use of autonomous farm machinery for the Australian grains industry and broader farm sector. 

“The Code was developed to better support the commercial introduction of autonomous tractors and machinery into Australian field-based plant industries, to address public interest matters such as farm safety which is a key strategic priority for GPA,” he said. 

“Following industry stakeholder consultation, it was finalised in late 2020 and launched by industry. After a period of time dedicated to seeking formal adoption by various State Governments, feedback indicates the best approach now is to promote the Code as an industry-led initiative. 

“This partnership aims to take the Code forward and build on this momentum even more, to ensure it remains relevant to the pragmatic development and delivery of future initiatives and partnerships aimed at improving the adoption of this technology, and benefits for growers.” 

Mr Weidemann said growers also saw this technology as an area for increased farm productivity while also potentially lowering production costs in the long term with higher productivity gains. 

TMA Executive Director, Gary Northover, said his groups’ members were looking forward to working with GPA and SPAA, to deliver these shared goals and outcomes, recognising that autonomous farm machinery is becoming more of a commercial reality and a step closer every day. 

“This partnership will involve a number of proactive activities including an annual survey of growers to understand how they’re thinking and feeling about this technology – and their awareness of the important role our Code plays in supporting its evolution and use,” he said. 

The partnership will also deliver other communication initiatives and engagement opportunities. 

SPAA President, Phil Honey, said his group supported the program to help educate growers about the Code’s role and engage in positive conversations about the technology’s potential use on-farm. 

“The bottom line is, as is the case with any new technology, the farmers who are going to be using it need to see the benefits it’s going to bring to their business and why they should adopt it,” he said. 

“This partnership will help to understand and analyse where growers are at with their knowledge and understanding – whilst also recognising the Code’s role in supporting better safety outcomes.”  

GPA Chief Executive, Colin Bettles, said collaboration and engagement from other potential partners and industry groups in delivering the project’s goals was also welcome. 

Research indicates the global autonomous farm equipment market size was valued at USD $68.15 billion (AUD$102.86 billion) in 2023 and is anticipated to reach around USD $121.81 billion (AUD$183.76 billion) by 2033. 



GPA represents Australia’s grain producers on national policy and advocacy, striving to increase profitability and sustainability. GPA has responsibilities for all levy-paying grain producers and members include direct growers and the Grains Councils of State Farming Organisations. HERE 

The SPAA is a non-profit association that advocates for the adoption of precision agriculture amongst Australian producers to enhance on-farm productivity, profitability and sustainability. SPAA’s membership includes Australian farmers, agronomists, consultants, researchers and academics working across broadacre, sugar, cotton, dairy, livestock and horticulture. SPAA’s motto is ‘Guiding you to farming success’. HERE 

TMA represents importers, manufacturers and sellers of agricultural tractors and machinery in Australia. Established over 70 years ago, the TMA is the industry’s voice on issues relating to safety, training, regulation and market statistics. HERE 

The joint project between GPA, SPAA and TMA, and drafting and writing the Code was led by farm technology expert Dr Rohan Rainbow. It was developed with input from the Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum using the “Safe mobile autonomous mining in Western Australia – Code of Practice” as an initial discussion template for its development. HERE 



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