"Mallee AgTech summit is ready to deliver"

Practical demonstrations, workshops, speakers, trade stalls and farm tours will all be on offer at the 2022 Growing Smarter in the Mallee AgTech Summit. The summit is an initiative of the Mallee Regional Innovation Centre (MRIC) and will be held at Mildura’s SuniTAFE Smart Farm on Thursday May 5 and Friday May 6.

Rebecca Wells, CEO of MRIC, said that the summit has an incredible line up of speakers and will be also be hands-on, giving delegates the chance to see the latest equipment and engage with other growers in workshops and demonstrations. “What most helps growers and businesses is practical advice on how they can improve production and processes now, so that they have a strong base from which to plan for the future.” 

Among the practical demonstrations will be an unmanned spraying systems from GUSS (Global Unmanned Spray System) and the chance to see the automated vine pruning system developed jointly by local growers, Dried Fruits Australia and engineers at La Trobe University.

A set of practical workshops will showcase a range of remote sensing technology and tools for better horticultural management, and these will run alongside an extensive program of panel sessions. “Remote sensing allows growers and orchard managers to get a quicker and more accurate view of their orchard health. It uses drones and aircraft equipped with sensors to capture and analyse data to target timely, cost-effective intervention”, said Ms Wells.

Data gathering and management are also benefitting from innovation. Tie Up Farming’s workshop will demonstrate how collecting data and assigning tasks can be better managed to deliver cost savings, while Get Onside will focus on the benefits of mobile devices to manage operations, safety and biosecurity, reduce paperwork and improve worker productivity. Robotic harvesting is also becoming more viable. A workshop by Ripe Robotics will demonstrate the latest developments and show how growers can prepare their business for automation.

A workshop by the Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub will explain how local growers can be engaged in regional activities. The national Drought Hub network is looking to build resilience in communities and assist farmers in off-setting drought risks and impacts. Trade stalls will then showcase the latest products and services available for growers, and farm tours will give insights into how those developments work in practice.

Rebecca Wells says it is important for industry events like Growing Smarter in the Mallee 2022 to provide attendees with practical information, advice and demonstrations that they can implement in the near term. “The Mallee’s horticultural community has come together to create a program that reflects our region’s strengths as a centre of horticultural production and to address the risks we will have to manage over coming years. We expect that the networks people make and knowledge they gain will have lasting impacts.”

A full program is available at: https://eng.unimelb.edu.au/mric/gsitm 

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