Home' Grower : October 2012 Contents The South Australian Grower -- October 2012
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Aaron Jak believes precision agriculture is the way of the future, with driverless vehicles and
robotic weeding machines a reality in the next 15 years.
Ag machinery plows
vast career pathway
THE agriculture machinery sector has
made an open plea to young people: it is
desperate for workers.
"There is a skills shortage facing Australia's
agricultural sector has been gaining increas-
ing attention, with a push to encourage
young people to study science-based degrees
at ag colleges and universities nationwide,"
Tractor and Machinery Association executive
director Richard Lewis said.
The TMA, Australia's peak industry body
representing machinery manufacturers and
agricultural enterprises nationwide, reported
a 15 per cent increase in demand for new
tractors this year.
Mr Lewis said Australia's farm machinery
sector was a $7-billion business -- and grow-
"The agricultural machinery sector offers an
exciting career path for young people, partic-
ularly given the vast technological advance-
ments in machinery and farming practices in
recent years, with autosteer equipment, GPS
mapping and variable rate farming becoming
increasingly common," he said.
"Never before has technology adoption
played such an integral role in enhancing
farm productivity rates.
"In fact, the role of mechanisation is even
more critical than chemical inputs in ensuring
peak productivity and profitability on
While mining has been competing with
agriculture as a career option for young peo-
ple, Mr Lewis says the forecast end to the
mining boom in the next few years means
there has never been a better time to consid-
er a career in horticulture and broadacre agri-
While career opportunities in the machinery
sector are vast, education options are limited.
Machinery and cutting-edge technology,
such as precision agriculture, do not feature
in the curriculum at most universities and col-
In January this year, Australia's first
Graduate Certificate in Precision Agriculture
was introduced at the University of New
Aaron Jak, 26, is hoping to enrol in the
course next year. He works for South
Australia's Koch Ag, a sub-dealer of one of
Trimble Ag Division's largest channel part-
ners in Australia.
He was first exposed to precision ag after
working on a 2000-hectare mixed cropping
operation near Maitland, on South Australia's
The operation used a combination of yield
mapping, satellite imagery and soil mapping
to ensure cropping was focussed on areas of
the property more likely to deliver higher
yields and reduce input costs.
"When I started working on the farm,
autosteer technology was just being intro-
duced," Mr Jak said.
"In 15 to 20 years, I reckon we'll have dri-
verless vehicles in the field working 24 hours
a day, seven days a week, and robotic weed-
The Tractor and Machinery Association
plans to work with universities and ag col-
leges across Australia to ensure mechanisation
and technology have their place in the cur-
Season long weed control in vegetable
Registered trademark of AgNova Technologies Pty Ltd
Selective Weed Control in Onions and Brassicas
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