One of the most complex and widely used sciences of them all: farming!
This week, from 11-19 August, it is National Science Week and the National Farmers’ Federation is celebrating along with the rest of the nation.
We will be highlighting the importance of science in Australian agriculture and how it has shaped our beautifully diverse country.
Modern farmers apply chemistry, biology, meteorology, veterinarian, mechanical and digital technology skills every day.
Agriculture in Australia began with indigenous Australians working the soil to cultivate native grains, herbs, fruits and vegetables as well as practising the fertilising method of back burning.
Today farming in Australia is much different.
The world’s population has grown to more than 7.9 billion people and therefore the demand to feed, clothe and house people has never been greater.
National Farmers’ Federation President Fiona Simson said science has revolutionised every part of Australia’s farming system.
“Our industry owes its success to the advancements that research and developments has made possible,” she said.
To grow productivity and to maintain the farming environment needed to feed and clothe the world, Australian farmers have had to innovate. Our farmers are regarded as amongst the most innovative in the world.
In 2016-2017, Australian farmers contributed $334 million to research and development through levies paid to the rural R&D corporations. A figure that is matched by the Federal Government.
This investment has seen significant advancements in how farming is carried out . For example over the past 25 years farmers have moved to minimum or zero tillage; adopted precision agriculture techniques; improved water use efficiency (in some cases by up to 100%) and advanced crop and livestock breeding programmes.
Science has also helped farmers combat the effects of natural disasters, especially drought, by developing drought-tolerant crop varieties through advancements in genetic breeding and biotechnology.
“Our ability to continue to manage a variable climate, depends on our continued dedication to research and development.
“Today agriculture is a $60 billion industry, the NFF has a vision for farm gate output to be valued at $100 billion by 2030,” Ms Simson said.
Stay tuned this week for more interesting articles and facts about the magical partnership between ag and science in Australia!