German ministerial delegation visit UNE SMART Farm

Posted by | April 01, 2016 | News, Science, Staff, Students | No Comments
Minister Christian Schmidt

Minister Christian Schmidt

German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce have visited the University of New England’s Kirby SMART Farm to view Australian agricultural expertise.

The ministers were impressed with the agricultural technologies on display including tools to monitor tree crops, virtual fencing for livestock, electronic weather stations and pasture growth tools.

Deputy Prime Minister Joyce said he was proud to bring his German counterpart to his old University and showcase some of the world class agricultural research and technology the UNE was developing.

The weight and image analysis technology for sheep was a particular highlight of the day’s visit.

“In an industry where time is money the potential savings introduced by this technology will significantly increase returns for sheep producers,” Minister Joyce said.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce

Another project that will deliver substantial benefits to farmers is the wild dog sensing and control technology.

“Wild dog attacks cost the Australian agriculture industry $66 million annually through livestock losses, disease transmission and control costs. Using camera traps and data analysis techniques to improve wild dog management benefits farming communities on various levels – economically, mental health and wellbeing, stock welfare and wildlife,” Minister Joyce said.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Annabelle Duncan, who accompanied the high-level delegation, said improving outcomes for farming communities is a key aspect of UNE’s research endeavour.

“Our precision agriculture researchers work to identify ideal conditions and treatments for growing livestock and plants. Through scientific research and use of technology we are meeting challenges in farming and food production head on,” Prof Duncan said.

“It is encouraging to know our work on the SMART Farm is of international interest and its benefits will extend beyond Australia.

Chancellor James Harris, VC Annabelle Duncan, Minister Schmidt and DPM Joyce

Chancellor James Harris, VC Annabelle Duncan, Minister Schmidt and DPM Joyce