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How are Australian farmers using the cloud?

31 March 2017

Technology has historically been key to boosting efficiency on Australian farms, with agricultural machinery and other breakthroughs helping to revolutionise the sector and maximise productivity.

However, farmers in the country have been slow to adopt cloud computing until recently. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures revealed that just 9 per cent of agriculture, forestry and fishing businesses used paid cloud services in 2013-14 - fewer than any other industry.

Agribusinesses are increasingly utilising remote sensors and data analytics to create 'smart' farms.

So why choose the cloud for farming in Australia? Let's take a look at how some innovative farmers are driving performance with cloud computing.

Cloud-based supply chains

Blockchain and modern payment infrastructure can be used in conjunction with satellite technology to optimise supply chains, according to an NAB Lab AgTech survey published in March.

By using the cloud, Australian farmers can create a seamless process whereby agricultural goods are tracked and paid for all the way from paddock to plate. NAB said this could help reduce counterparty risk, potentially lowering farming insurance premiums.

Precision farming

Cloud computing is also used in combination with various other technologies to boost efficiency on Australian farms. For example, agribusinesses are increasingly utilising remote sensors and data analytics to create 'smart' farms.

Farmers collect numerous types of data, including crop growth figures, yields, and water and soil moisture levels. The information is stored in the cloud and provides real-time predictive insights into the actions farmers need to take in order to maximise production.

Cattle and dairy herd management

Effective livestock management is another reason why a growing number of agribusinesses are choosing cloud farming in Australia.

Various platforms and apps exist within the space; and many use cloud-based infrastructure to store inventory information, while tracking the markets to reduce volatility and enhance return on investment. Farmers can also benefit from centralised documentation and perform online livestock trading using their mobile device.

Farming insurance and cloud-computing technology. Australian farmers can use the cloud to better management of their livestock.

Accounting on the cloud

The financial side of agriculture is complex; regulations, subsidies, and unpredictable weather are just some of the factors that affect profits, losses, asset values and farming liabilities.

Cloud-based accounting software is designed to provide a single set of books so that farmers - as well as their bankers, accountants and advisors - have 24/7 access to crucial financial information for decision-making.

These are just some of the ways that Australian farmers are using the cloud to improve agricultural efficiency. Please contact Elders Insurance to learn more about the latest opportunities and challenges facing the nation's farmers.

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