2017 Agrihack Challenges

Edit: 19.10.17 - Below are 3 challenges from last years hack.  Have a read and get an ideas of what is in store, then register for agrihack 2018 below!

CHALLENGE ONE - WOOL

Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) is the research, development and marketing body of the Australian wool industry, working on behalf of Australian wool growers.

We would like you to consider the sheep production challenges that are being faced by the Australian wool industry and how these challenges could be solved by the use of technology.

HEALTHY, PRODUCTIVE SHEEP

Improving wool sheep health, welfare and productivity represents the greatest overall opportunity for on-farm R&D for the benefit of the Australian wool industry – both in terms of delivering productivity gains and improved profitability, but also in terms of protecting and enhancing the international reputation of Australia’s wool growers as custodians of the world’s largest population of Merino sheep. 

Sheep health and welfare challenges are estimated to cost the Australian sheep industry more than $2.0 billion per annum in control, prevention and production costs.

FARM AUTOMATION & SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT

Labour use efficiency is an important contributor to farm profitability, and seasonal labour availability constraints have been shown to limit important profit drivers and can also impact on sheep heath and welfare. More significantly and specifically, the wool industry suffers by comparison to other livestock enterprises due to the frequency of hands-on sheep management and harvesting activities.

Recent advances in the field of electronics and software development, especiallythe advent and wide uptake of mobility devices, has created new opportunities for development of labour-saving devices offering realistic potential to generate substantial labour savings for routine operations, and to simultaneously improve management skill and deliver spin-off benefits forsheep health, welfare and productivity.

THE CHALLENGE

We would like you to consider ideas for technology application/s that will make wool growing an appealing, viable choice for farmers and consumers.

Here are some questions to help guide your thinking:

How might we help farmers keep their sheep, happy, healthy and productive?

How might we help consumers understand and enjoy the benefits of wool?

How might we discover new uses for the unique properties of natural wool?

You will have the opportunity to build on your AgriHack idea/s to win cash and travel prizes by registering for the 2017 Tech eChallenge Wool Innovation. For more information contact Katrina Durham

CHALLENGE TWO - DATA INFORMED DECISION MAKING

In a world of rapid population growth, increasingly extreme climate, and global instability, an opportunity exists for Australia to continue providing food and nutrition to an ever-expanding world market.

We would like you to consider the challenges that are being faced by the Australian agriculture industry – one that is essential to our nation’s food security, and a significant contributor to our economy and communities -- and how these challenges could be solved by the use of technology. To get you started here are a couple of key issues that farmers are facing today:

·         First is increased understanding of the measurable environmental. Farmers need to make informed decisions about their farm to maximise productivity in any set of conditions. To improve their decision making consider what information needs to be collected such as soil conditions, weather data, pest threats and crop health. They need tools that are able to collect, analyse and represent environmental data.

How can we help our farmers work with the environment?

How can we help farms benefit from changes in the environment?

CHALLENGE THREE - OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY

Historically farms were labour intensive and have increasingly become more automated in recent generations. How can this automation continue to keep them viable against the pressures of increased global competition? What further automation can be undertaken to improve existing processes by making farm work more accurate, productive or reliable? This could include crop monitoring, animal health management, water management or sustainability.

How might we make farming easier?

How might farmers give more food choices to consumers?

How might farmers share their produce with the world?

Try not to restrict your thinking to just the farm itself, but consider all aspects of the supply chain – from input producer to grower to the end consumer!

Dianna Somerville