Best Farming Techniques
The agricultural sector is at the mercy of the environment – drought, bushfires, floods, storms, soil erosion – all take a terrible toll on farms. But farmers are resilient and long-running drought conditions have the industry looking to more water-efficient and sustainable farming techniques to improve productivity and remain viable.
Traditionally, farming could be classified within a few broad categories. Essentially arable farming to produce crops, pastoral farming to grow animals or mixed properties which included both crops and animals. Farmers were either ‘subsistence’, growing produce and animals for their own consumption needs or ‘commercial’, producing to sell and sustain a nation and exporting. The techniques of farming remained fairly consistent over many centuries, while adapting to new equipment and machinery developments.
But out of necessity have emerged new techniques which have given rise to new sub-categories of farming. The necessity to withstand the effects of climate change and especially long-running drought conditions and the necessity to cater for an increasingly more sophisticated global palate.
Organic farming is particularly popular as consumers are more aware of what they are eating and understand that growing conditions may affect their health. Vertical farming is emerging as a method to optimise space. Multi-crop farming is becoming more common as farmers need to adapt to changing markets and demand.
Sustainability is a key consideration in farming in today’s world. Individual farmers, government agencies, scientific organisations and the private sector are coming together with the common aim of investing in research and development to make our agricultural more productive and more profitable.
Farmers are particularly innovative as they are attuned to their land, their local environmental changes, variations in production levels and taking close note of what needs to change to improve the situation.
A range of sustainable farming techniques and practices have emerged through the collaboration of science and the ‘man on the land’. Crop rotation and diversification, cover crop planting, water efficiency, reducing tillage to combat soil erosion, implementing pest management programs and working with experts and authorities to apply agroforestry methods are all being used on different properties, dependent on local conditions.
Smashing the stereotypical image of a farmer or agricultural producer spending their entire working time in the fields, is the reality of the sector’s acceptance, adoption and contribution to technology. Farming and agriculture have been quick to adopt the latest technological developments and devices and incorporate their use into their own farming techniques.
These advances include water and soil sensors, satellite imaging, RFID technology, pervasive automation and weather tracking systems.