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Understanding the user: Learning from on-farm application of precision farming technologies in the Australian livestock sector
journal contributionposted on 18.09.2018, 00:00 by C Eastwood, Mark TrotterMark Trotter, N Scott
The use of precision farming technology for enhanced farm management will play an essential role in future Australian livestock farming systems. Currently a gap exists between the potential perceived by precision technology developers and the on-farm benefi ts achieved by farmers. The concept of technological innovation systems is used in this paper to discuss the current challenges for successful precision farming in practice through case studies of farmers using the technologies in the dairy, beef, and sheep sectors. These case studies highlight the need for greater emphasis on the “user” phase of the technology development cycle. The concept of technological innovation systems provides a path forward for agricultural engineers where a more holistic approach is taken to technology development, and where the processes of learning, knowledge creation, and ongoing adaptation occur alongside new technology design. The value proposition for farmers needs to be clear to encourage them to invest time and money in not only the purchase and installation of such technology, but also into the early learning that is required. There is a requirement for investment in human capital to support precision technologies, while also creating knowledge sharing structures to link farmers to the lessons learnt by others.