Transformational Agriculture IT Spend Grows

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According to IDC, digitally transforming Australian agriculture will be key to fulfilling the rising caloric demand in international markets, because Australia’s agriculture is plagued with a unique set of challenges.

In response to the challenges, the industry is steadily becoming more consolidated and integrated, as new government and stakeholder investments grow. In addition, agriculture is being looked upon to fill the export void left by declining mining markets.

The proximity to attractive Asian markets, a strong institutional framework and a positive inclination to harness technology have made agriculture an attractive sector for investments. Spending on farm-operation-related technologies is expected to grow over 4% annually to 2020. Consequently, there is no shortage of innovation in agriculture, but issues exist, specifically:

  • Scaling out of capabilities are challenging due to an industry mostly composed of small-scale family owned businesses; and
  • Large farms controlled by few farmers are often located in harsh physical environments making connectivity difficult.

Third-platform technologies like mobility, cloud and big-data have a proven ability to introduce agility and improve decision-making. There is an urgent need to drive productivity while continuing to improve the quality and quantity of the produce. Empowering the workforce, reducing human error and limiting manual intervention are important considerations and there is tremendous scope for third platform technologies to deliver these outcomes.

“The potential for third-platform technologies to improve revenue and cost outcomes for agricultural enterprises is significant,” said IDC’s vertical markets analyst, Jaideep Thyagarajan. “This realisation by agricultural organisations, government and IT vendors is creating a swirl of engagement. Over the last year, there is strong collaboration between IT and industry expertise to create new offerings focussed on IoT and effective data utilisation.”

The expected increase in spending corresponds to renewed interests to drive yield and variety alongside sustainable farming practices. Spending on Third Party Information Services is expected to be predominantly flat with a modest 5 year CAGR of 1.3%.

But Jaideep warns: “Poor connectivity and restricted access to state-of-the-art IT platforms and expertise are acting as barriers to unleash the hidden potential of data analytics in agriculture.”