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Australian growers invest in robots, autonomous vehicles to combat labor shortages

Robots are being used to commercially farm more than 405,000 hectares of Australian farmland, as growers see them as the solution to the labor shortage problem. The Bundaberg region, about 400 kilometers north of Brisbane, is known as the fruit bowl capital of Australia and produces one-quarter of the nation's fresh produce. Growers there are investing in autonomous vehicles that can be programmed to slash and spray herbicides more efficiently.

Central Queensland farmer Andrew Bate established Swarm Farm robotics in 2012 with the aim of creating better farming systems. He said autonomous vehicles were becoming mainstream. "Most of these machines are extremely versatile," he said. "In June this year, we cracked a million acres [405,000 hectares] commercially farmed in Australia with our robots, which is a huge milestone for our team that we're really proud of."

"There are a lot of our robots in Queensland and New South Wales, and we're sending robots over to West Australia," he said.


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