In Adelaide in 1843, the shortage of labour and a bumper wheat harvest led English flour miller John Ridley, and a local farmer named John Bull, to develop the grain stripper that cut the crop, removed and placed the grain into bins.
Driven by the need to effectively deliver larger quantities of food to the growing population, Australia’s agricultural industry continues to innovate.
From cattle with GPS tracking collars, to no handling bee hives with honey flowing directly into the jar, we are a go ahead country when it comes invention and improvement.
They say “there’s nothing more constant than change’ and it’s how you embrace change which enables you to successfully move forward.
Take the smartphone APP and system which reports back how much water is left in your cattle or sheep trough many kilometres away. It comes at quite a reasonable cost and you need to consider what it costs you in labour and fuel in checking the water level, plus the possible loss of livestock should the trough run dry.
Of course some innovation will be out of reach and unaffordable, but they say it’s about working smarter not harder.
What does this mean to careers in Agriculture? Should we fear that jobs will disappear in our industry through tasks being automated? Remember the concern when computers were introduced? We seem to have more computer users and IT support workers than ever before.
What it does signal, is that it’s our job to keep up to date with the changes taking place and inventions on offer. We may even need to listen to the University students who have just graduated doing Ag Science!
Agricultural support services play a vital role in our industry and this may be where the future lies for careers in agriculture. As we move to increase the quantities we supply, expertise will be required to solve these important issues.
As well as supplying food to Australia, export opportunities are on the increase as the world strives to feed its increasing population. Certainly the free trade agreements with the Asian region signal positive prospects for Australian agriculture.
I remember as a teenager helping my dad with large spans of fencing. We were digging holes with a posthole shovel and drilling holes in the wooden posts with a hand drill with a winding handle.
Thank goodness for invention and innovation.