Paul presented to the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s Update Day in Bendigo on How to Think about Emerging Technologies in Agriculture

The key points were:

  • The digital technologies that are emerging in agriculture are different than the historical technologies that we have adopted.  There is more venture capital being invested in the agricultural technology startups and there are more components that make up a technology we can use. This means that the risks are different and we need to take a different approach.
  • All technologies move from idea, to custom built models, to products and finally to utilities.  Unless they have a very good reason to do otherwise farmers should be in the early majority of adopters and adopt technology once it is firmly in the product/utility area of development.
  • There is still an industry requirement for early adopters and we need new models for the early adopters to demonstrate technology to the rest of the industry and be properly supported and compensated for the risks taken.
  • Farmers need to develop a set of decision-making principles that will guide their adoption of new technologies and rigorously stick by them.
  • Farmers need advisers that are connected to these new technologies but are still grounded in understanding business models and common sense on the ground. These advisers also need to be adept at facilitating and utilising networks to get the most value out of digital technologies.