Innovation is the key to survival for farmers

Cane Farmers for years have been using innovation and technology to adapt to challenges. Over the years we have seen farmers face many challenges such as the high Australian dollar, low sugar prices and the low cost of labour from Countries like Brazil. Many of these problems are out of anybody’s control and it is the farmers who are clever enough to turn these problems into opportunities who will prosper.

For example to combat countries with cheap labour such as Brazil, farmers have turned to cane harvesters, sophisticated equipment and farm practices to improve efficiency and reduce overhead costs. To combat low sugar prices farmers have chosen to plant other crops to diversify their income. To take advantage of the high Australian dollar farmers have had the opportunity to purchase farming equipment and vehicles at reduced prices. Even take the wife on an overseas holiday.

There are always going to be challenges in business, and today it is the price of electricity, in five to ten years’ time it will certainly be the price of diesel as the world transforms to bio fuel, hybrid Electric vehicles, hydrogen or even compressed air to run their cars.

With electricity the good news is that solar can start to significantly reduce the power costs for farmers. Over the next 5 years with the development of hybrid storage solutions with batteries, salt, steam and compressed air, solar will be able to run pumps 24 hours a day. There is a huge chance that farmers will not have to pay another power bill in 5 to 10 years’ time as they will own their own small power plants. How good would that be for farmers?

I am also certain that in 5 years’ time if there was a Hybrid Electric Tractor (they may already be out there) on the market that could reduce the cost of fuel by 80% this would also be a great chance for farmers to use innovation to their advantage.

As in the situation with Holden and Ford, the government has shown it cannot afford to continuously bail out sectors in trouble. It is impossible to fight change; the world moves very quickly, use innovation and new technology to your advantage.