Five ways that space technologies help farmers

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Space technologies are being increasingly utilised in on-farm processes. But how do they really help the field of agriculture?

“The farmer of the future will have space technology fully integrated into their everyday production systems and decision making,” said Jennifer Medway, Agrifutures Senior Manager of Rural Futures. “For instance, dashboards will enable farmers to remotely manage manual processes, and interoperable data systems will radically shift the way on-farm decisions are made.”

Image Credit: Engineering and Technology

1. Space technologies could add more than $17 billion to the Australian rural sector

Improvements to geolocation and satellite connectivity could improve productivity across agriculture, fisheries and forestry. These benefits come from satellite images, low bandwidth sensors, GPS tracking, and more accurate weather forecasting.

2. Space technologies create jobs boosting the amount of talent in our agricultural pool

The government has directed the Australian Space Agency to triple the size of the Australian Space Sector. A review of the Australian Space Industry Capability said “The Australian space industry is embedded in most areas of the Australian economy. Australian capabilities overlap with space industry capability in many areas. Industries such as services (predominantly financial), construction, mining, transport, manufacturing and agriculture are likely to continue to benefit from and add to space industry capability… A significant proportion of these are at the forefront of integrating data received from satellite and space based infrastructure into ground based applications”

3. Space technologies drive innovation

The SmartSat Cooporative Research Centre is investing $245 million research program exploring advanced telecommunications and intelligent satellite systems. These new technologies allow for the generation of better resolution and better frequency data.

4. Space technologies help us with food security

Larger populations and more unpredictable weather make food security ever more critical. Remote sensing technologies help to plan variable irrigation and to apply nutrients to soil more precisely.

5. Growing plants in space helps us learn how to grow in harsh conditions

The first plants grown in space were in the 1960s and were primarily grown to understand how variable conditions would affect their growth. But they have found other benefits, including that plants help the astronauts feel happier. Experiments in the space station have led to developing ways to grow plants with less soil, water and room.

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