Tech flavour for farmers

10/05/2016 - 05:07

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A growing uptake of technology for farming practices is likely among the state’s agribusinesses in coming months, according to the latest Commonwealth Bank Agri Insights survey.

Tech flavour for farmers
Sheep meat and wool are two of the state's biggest agricultural exports.

A growing uptake of technology for farming practices is likely among the state’s agribusinesses in coming months, according to the latest Commonwealth Bank Agri Insights survey.

It’s a different story regarding employment, however, with the sector unlikely to hire significantly more staff.

Overall, farmers in Western Australia were more pessimistic than in the last survey six months previously, with only Queensland and Victoria scoring lower in the index.

The bank surveyed about 300 WA farmers in a pool of about 1,600 nationally.

Commonwealth Bank general manager regional and agribusiness WA Natasha Greenwood said the industry would slow its absorption of labour from mining.

“What we’ve seen in the survey over the last 12 months for WA … farmers have really been telling us that their areas for investment have been in the area of people,” Ms Greenwood said.

In the latest data, however, only 2 per cent have said they’d be looking to hire, while 25 per cent are switching their attention to innovation and technology.

“We’ve got a great agricultural product here … and we’ve got good access to markets,” Ms Greenwood said.

“Farmers have got a real appetite, firstly to want to explore what new technology is available and secondly to implement it in their business.

That included precision agriculture such as drones and GPS cropping programs.

Both were picking up across the country, although Ms Greenwood suggested local farmers would be well placed to invest.

More broadly, Ms Greenwood said low interest rates, the lower dollar, firm commodity prices and good seasonal weather were positives for farmers in the months ahead.

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