Sustainability, not new technology, is concern of farmers in NAB survey

Sheep Central, December 13, 2017

NAB agribusiness general manager Khan Horne

SUSTAINABILITY is at the forefront of Australian farmers’ concerns, a recent NAB survey has indicated.

The NAB Agribusiness report, Backing Rural Australia – Future-proofing our farmers through sustainability and AgTech solutions, said that 87 percent of farmers surveyed cited soil health as their biggest sustainability concern.

This was followed by water scarcity (83pc) and energy costs (83pc).

The report is based on the results of a survey of 739 NAB farmer-customers, who were asked about their use of eight emerging technologies currently transforming agriculture, and their attitudes to natural capital risks.

The survey found the most used agricultural technology across all sectors is management accounting software (51pc) followed by automation (37pc).

NAB agricbusiness general manager Khan Horne said there is enormous potential for Australian farmers to increase the use of new technologies on-farm to increase yields, minimise waste and improve the bottom line, as well as to mitigate risks such as growing climate variability.

“Our customers are consistently telling us that sustainability is at the forefront of issues affecting the industry, and they’re already seeing the benefits of AgTech in many areas.

“However, it’s still early days in terms of on-farm application for many solutions – partly because of connectivity and similar issues, and partly because farmers want to be convinced some of the available AgTech can deliver on the promises that have been made,” he said.

“On average, we found customers are only using 2.5 AgTech solutions, and 25 per cent of all respondents are not currently using any of the eight on the list,” Mr Horne said.

“When it comes to on-farm technology, cropping industries are well ahead of the average on many of the AgTech solutions in the survey, such as spot spray technology to reduce chemical use.

“The horticultural industry is leading the way with automation and climate soil sensors.”

The other technologies surveyed were farm management accounting software; digital markets and supply chains; imaging; livestock sensors and biometrics; and predictive decision support software.

“For the third year of the survey, soil health, water scarcity and energy costs were rated as the three most important businesses risks, by more than 80 per cent of respondents,” Mr Horne said.

Mr Horne said there is a huge range of AgTech solutions available to help Australian agribusinesses and the bank can support this by providing world class financial services to enable our customers to take advantage of this new technology to be both more sustainable and profitable.

The survey involved telephone interviews conducted with 739 NAB Agribusiness customers across different states, business activities and profiles.

Click here to download the report – Backing Rural Australia – Future-proofing our farmers through sustainability and AgTech solutions.

Source: NAB.


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