The National Farmers Federation (NFF), Australia’s peak body representing farmers and, more broadly, agriculture across Australia, has begun development of a Digital Agriculture Service, an online platform for farmers which will have news and weather, markets and agribusiness stories and to turn vast quantities of real-time data into high performance farm management – generating higher yields while lowering input costs.

NFF CEO Simon Talbot said in a press release, “The use of information technology in farming has evolved rapidly; moving from basic GPS applications; to the use of cloud-based systems to manage and draw insights from volumes of data to inform management decisions”.

“The NFF has a vision to double the farm gate value of agriculture to AU$100 billion by 2030. Technology is one of the key planks of that vision, and has important additional benefits for health and education in regional Australia” Mr Talbot said.

“By creating a new digital service by farmers, for farmers, the NFF, in collaboration with Accenture, can help avoid the scenarios playing out overseas where farmers are overwhelmed by complex and disconnected data locked away by individual service providers,” Mr Talbot added.

 “Today farmers generate volumes of complex data and there is enormous scope to use this data to enhance decision making and improve farm gate returns.”

 “By taking advantage of major innovation trends such as Big Data and the Internet of Things, tools like the Digital Agriculture Service have the potential to add significant value to farm gate returns in coming years. For the first time in a generation, digital technologies can enable farmers to achieve a quantum leap forward in their performance.”

The NFF aims to launch a publicly available service for all farmers in July; as well as specific solutions for the Cotton, Horticulture and Beef farmers in late 2016, with other commodities to follow soon after.