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Australian farmers team with globally recognised US agriculture researcher to transform grain industry

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The Victorian Grains Industry, with support from leading institutions, will be working with veski sustainable agriculture fellow Dr Terry Griffin to transform the Australian agriculture sector by improving the use of digital technologies and big data analytics. This project is laying the groundwork for the long-term goal which is to create an agri-data co-op.

Organisation/s: Victorian Government

Media Release

From: veski

The Victorian Grains Industry, with support from leading institutions will be working with Dr Terry Griffin to transform the Australian agriculture sector by improving the use of digital technologies and big data analytics. This project is laying the ground work for the long-term goal which is to create an agri-data co-op.

Dr Terry Griffin, from the Kansas State University, celebrated for his work in the access and use of data in agriculture, will be visiting Australia as a veski sustainable agriculture fellow. Drawing on his expertise as a cropping systems economist, he will join with local farmers, researchers and leading institutions, led by Birchip Cropping Group, to share research and knowledge to help farmers access data.

The digitisation of farming has the potential to transform the Australian agricultural sector. Possible profitability gains in the region of 10-15 per cent have been modelled from the improved use of digital agricultural technologies.

This represents a growth of approximately $350 million annually for the Victorian grains industry alone.

The project titled “Connectivity, Capability and Trust: breaking down barriers for farming to create value from data sets” will challenge the key barriers to the data. Forty farmers in north-west Victoria and one hundred more from around Australia are being surveyed to collect data that will inform the project.

Previous surveys conducted by Birchip Cropping Group have exposed the under-utilisation of harvest data. CEO, Chris Sounness said “We know that 80% of farmers do not get value from the harvester captured data. Farmers know that the data could be useful, but they either don’t have the connectivity, the capability, or the trust in the system to utilise it”.

Australian grains industry will learn from the US experience and be empowered with the means to tackle these barriers, which will have a transformative impact. In particular, the establishment of a data coop for data sharing has the potential to transform the grains industry and would have application across the broader agricultural sector.

Chris Sounness says, “Access and utilisation of this data presents a huge opportunity for our farmers. Tackling the challenge of farmer’s access and utility will help transform the Australian grains industry, and with applications for all farming sectors”.

Australian Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO recognises the importance of sharing knowledge and experience from around the world: “Big problems demand big solutions from big minds. veski brings leading researchers to my home state of Victoria, with benefits for the whole nation.”

Dr Griffin received his veski sustainable agriculture fellowship in December 2017. Birchip Cropping Group and veski will host Dr Griffin’s first three week visit to Australia, alongside partners Agriculture Victoria, Longernong College, CSIRO, Sydney University, Curtin University, Federation University and Kansas State University.

Dr Griffin will be speaking at the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s event, “Grains Research Update – Strategic Steps – enduring profit”. This is being held in Bendigo on Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 February.

In July 2018, Dr Griffin will return to Australia to continue with the “Connectivity, Capability and Trust” project and to review the findings. It is anticipated that solutions and lessons learnt will be shared for the benefit of the broader agricultural sector at a public event, hosted by veski.

For more information on the project visit

About veski

At veski our vision is to foster an innovation economy. With a mission to identify globally competitive individuals and leading researchers, we bring these minds to Victoria for the benefit of the Australian economy. Established in 2004, veski delivers a dynamic annual program of fellowships, awards and targeted networking.  More recently, veski has added a dynamic suite of outreach programs focused on inclusion and diversity, recognising these as critical elements for fostering innovation. This new suite of tailored offerings includes the veski inspiring women program, veski sustainable agriculture fellowships and the veski fast smarts event.  Through these unique programs, veski adds value to existing veski community members, while also sharing innovative skills and thinking with the broader Victorian community

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