2024 is proving to be an exciting year for Australia’s Agri sector. A plethora of innovative and problem-solving technologies are making it faster and easier to get all kinds of agricultural work done. What’s more, new technologies are providing farmers with rich management insights, yielding significant production and resource efficiencies. We share the ground-breaking innovations that are currently attracting investment interest.

  • AI and app-based technology. Increasingly, AI and the ‘Internet-of-Things’ are linking farm assets with sensors – providing information about water, temperature, soil conditions and pests, as Carmel Onions, Executive Manager Agribusiness and Sustainability, Commonwealth Bank, explains.

    "For example, instead of having to get out and check the water levels of your troughs and tanks, technology can now report water levels and leaks. The technology saves famers the cost and emissions of diesel as they no longer need to drive around as many times a week to do manual checks," she says.
  • Drones. Remote mustering is being transformed by drone technology, according to Andrew Roberts, Senior Manager Market Positioning and Engagement – Asset Finance.

    "Traditionally farmers would put a helicopter in the air for very large properties. Now we’re seeing drones being used to move herds. From an environmental and cost perspective, it could be better to consider a battery-powered drone at a much smaller investment – and can also be a lot safer for farm workers," he says.
  • Satellite technology. Satellite technology is being used to revolutionise grazing and livestock management.

    "Satellite technology helps farmers know what feed is available to support grazing management and sustainable utilisation of pasture. This can also help maintain ground cover through dry times. Similarly, technology can be used to track animals via satellite through solar powered ear tags. This can provide real time data alerts to the farmer on stock location, and a range of behavioural information such as grazing patterns or illness" says Onions.
  • Emissions measurement. Online emissions calculators are becoming more mainstream, helping farmers to report their emissions as well as understand opportunities to reduce their net emissions and benefit their bottom line.

    "Farmers can use calculators, such as Ruminati to identify and track improvements in emissions (and profitability) over time. For example, improving feed conversion efficiency and being able to turn animals off to the processor quicker is better for business but also means animals are on the planet for a shorter amount of time and producing less methane" says Onions.
  • Standards compliance. Technology is also providing data to evidence a producer’s sustainability credentials.

    "We're seeing export markets, like Europe, requiring evidence. For example, ISCC accreditation across grains like canola and barley for sustainable chemical use and other practices, and from December this year for beef, that production is not associated with deforestation. Technology helps tag your environmental credentials to your produce to trace it through the supply chain," says Onions.

Opportunities for brokers

Trends in sustainability provide opportunities for brokers as farmers invest in technologies that drive water, chemical, fertiliser and herd efficiencies.

Brokers who understand the benefits of these high-impact technologies and how to structure finance for investment will be well placed to differentiate their services.

How CommBank helps

In addition to Commercial and Asset Finance1, CommBank offers the Agri Green Loan2, which provides green finance for investments in sustainable practices that improve nature and resource use efficiency, cut emissions and build resilience to climate change.