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Australian farmers invest in robots, autonomous vehicles to combat worker shortage



#Australian #farmers #make investments #robots #autonomous #autos #fight #employee #scarcity

Robots are getting used to commercially farm greater than 405,000 hectares of Australian farmland, with growers seeing them as the reply to workforce shortages.

The Bundaberg area, about 400 kilometres north of Brisbane, is called the fruit bowl capital of Australia and produces one quarter of the nation’s contemporary produce.

Growers there are investing in autonomous autos that may be programmed to slash and spray herbicides extra effectively.

Macadamia Farm Administration agronomist Theunis Smit stated his office was one of many first farms to usher in autonomous autos.

“We have been working the prototypes for fairly some time,” Mr Smit stated.

Labour shortages and excessive climate have accelerated the corporate’s funding within the autos in current months.

A driverless tractor operating on a Bundaberg macadamia farm.
A driverless tractor operates on a Bundaberg macadamia farm.(Provided: Dean Collins)

“It is extra a matter that reliability of machines far outweighs the reliability of individuals,” Mr Smit stated.

“They work 24/7 and simply want a little bit of gas each from time to time, and an excellent little bit of reception.”

He stated it was what the way forward for Australian farming could be.

“I feel in one other three to 4 years we’ll be seeing far more of those within the orchard than we do at present.”

A man wearing a hi vis shirt stands in an orchard.
Theunis Smit says autonomous autos have confirmed useful.(ABC Extensive Bay: Johanna Marie)

Farming smarter not more durable

Central Queensland farmer Andrew Bate established Swarm Farm robotics in 2012 with the purpose of creating higher farming programs.

He stated autonomous autos had been turning into mainstream.

“Most of those machines are extraordinarily versatile,” he stated.

“In June this yr, we cracked 1,000,000 acres [405,000 hectares] commercially farmed in Australia with our robots, which is a big milestone for our crew that we’re actually pleased with.”

robot swarm farm
The robots will be programmed to use pesticides extra effectively and safely on farms.(Provided: Swarm Farm Robotics)

He stated robots might do easy work comparable to chemical dealing with, spraying and mowing.

“There’s plenty of our robots in Queensland and New South Wales, and we’re sending robots over to West Australia,” he stated.

The corporate builds robots that may be operated by a cell phone app.

Mr Bate stated there have been environmental advantages in utilizing the machines.

“We reduce round about 580 tonnes of pesticide out of the surroundings right here in Australia final yr, throughout the fleet of all our prospects,” he stated.

A man stands in a paddock in front of a tractor near another machine.
Andrew Bate says the machines are higher for the surroundings.(ABC Extensive Bay: Johanna Marie)

“On our personal farm, we most likely reduce out round 15 tonnes of pesticide within the final 12 months alone.” 

Connectivity is the largest problem for growers desirous to put money into the machines.

“Considered one of our largest limitations to not simply this know-how, however all applied sciences is connectivity,” Mr Smit stated.

“The farm we’re on at present is without doubt one of the solely farms we might select as a result of it had 4G reception.”

Extra jobs, not much less

Dean Collins from CQUniversity’s Hinkler AgTech Initiative stated whereas automated autos would exchange staff within the area, there could be different jobs created in help roles.

“On the finish of the day, we additionally want service industries, we want folks to help these autos,” he stated.

“We’d like individuals who can know how one can restore them, how one can keep them as nicely, and how one can truly function them.”

Mr Bate stated the know-how would appeal to extra younger folks into the agriculture trade.

“There is a actually huge shiny future in agriculture by way of new know-how, new alternatives,” he stated.

“It is the form of know-how that engages the following technology and brings folks again into agriculture.”


Australian wine producers left ‘in limbo’ as future of government grant remains uncertain



#Australian #wine #producers #left #limbo #future #authorities #grant #stays #unsure

Australian wine producers are at midnight over whether or not a grant that has been described as “essential” for his or her companies will proceed.

Tasmanian winemaker Monique Lubiana from Stefano Lubiana Wines says the grant program to enhance wine tourism and cellar door gross sales, launched by the federal authorities in 2018, has been a lifeline for her enterprise.

“It is some huge cash to our little enterprise,” she mentioned.

“The grant simply helps us with our present program, paying for wages, in addition to enterprise upkeep. We do not do something new with that cash.”

Eligible producers have been capable of apply for a cost of 29 per cent of their cellar door gross sales within the earlier monetary yr, as much as $100,000.

However with the change of presidency earlier this yr, there was no phrase about whether or not this system will proceed.

A grape vine close up, in focus.
Wine producers throughout the nation have been capable of apply for the grant.(ABC Information: Robert-Koenig-Luck)

Ms Lubiana mentioned the monetary shortfall that wanted to be coated meant she had to make powerful choices.

“Our progress is inhibited by taking this grant away from us,” she mentioned.

“Now we have to only push out bills; we’ve got to be very aware of our employment and we’ve got to possibly postpone upkeep.

“It is already actually powerful for any regional tourism enterprise.”

Companies needing readability

Wine Tasmania’s Sheralee Davies says the grant is vital to a number of companies throughout the state, in addition to across the nation, and the uncertainty round its future is “placing an enormous burden” on them.

“So far as we are conscious, this grant program in danger,” she mentioned.

woman standing in vineyard
Sheralee Davies says there are companies throughout the state that can be frightened in regards to the potential influence.(ABC Information: Luke Bowden)

Ms Davies says they’ve “heard nothing” from the federal government.

“At its worst, for a few of these companies, it may imply as much as $100,000 that they had been anticipating to have the ability to obtain will not be accessible,” she mentioned.

“That clearly would have a elementary influence on a enterprise making an attempt to handle its money move and profitability throughout a yr.

“They could have made totally different choices about employment preparations and cellar door working hours.”

Three wine glasses containing white wine
Some companies are going through a $100,000 shortfall.(Unsplash: Matthieu Joannon)

She mentioned Tasmanian companies had been disproportionately impacted due to the sturdy wine worth within the state.

“We at the moment are virtually 1 / 4 of the best way via the present monetary yr, and we have no clarification,” she mentioned.

“Companies want pressing clarification about whether or not or not this program goes to proceed, as a result of it straight impacts the day-to-day choices they’re making proper now.”

Senator takes calls to parliament

Tasmanian senator Tammy Tyrrell has taken requires readability to federal parliament, urging the federal government to behave.

“I’ve visited native wine producers. They’ve instructed me that with out this grant, they could should postpone workers,” she mentioned in a speech to the Senate.

With out these grants, plans for enlargement may not occur — enlargement which different companies within the space are counting on. That is simply the most recent blow for them.”

“I do know that cash is tight, however these companies are value investing in. We will not go away these companies in limbo any longer.”

A woman and a man in discussion
Tammy Tyrrell talking with Bream Creek Winery’s Fred Peacock.(Equipped: Tammy Tyrrell)

Following the federal election end result, an audit of all of the earlier authorities’s spending is being undertaken, together with the wine grant.

The audit is anticipated to be finalised earlier than the federal price range is handed down in late October.

A Division of Agriculture spokesperson says the federal government is dedicated to working with the Australian grape and wine sector.

“Till the audit is accomplished, we’re unable to offer an replace on the standing of this system,” the spokesperson mentioned.

“The federal government is listening to business suggestions and this suggestions is informing authorities’s consideration of this system.”

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Oil and gas industry chases option to buy international offsets instead of reducing emissions under safeguard mechanism



#Oil #fuel #business #chases #possibility #purchase #worldwide #offsets #lowering #emissions #safeguard #mechanism

The oil and fuel business is pushing to be allowed to purchase worldwide offsets to fulfill its emission discount necessities beneath the federal authorities’s new local weather change coverage.

Greater than 200 of the nation’s largest industrial emitters have air pollution limits set by what is named the safeguard mechanism, a scheme established by the previous Coalition authorities.

The Labor authorities intends to yearly scale back the degrees of emissions allowed beneath the mechanism to make sure Australia hits its nationwide goal of a 43-per-cent reduce by 2030.

In a submission to authorities, the Australian Petroleum Manufacturing and Exploration Affiliation (APPEA) referred to as for a variety of measures to assist amenities coated by the mechanism, which incorporates aluminium smelters, metal producers, LNG manufacturing and airways.

Having the ability to use each home and worldwide offsets, together with having the ability to commerce carbon credit, is a key request from the sector.

“Entry to worldwide markets supplies an extra choice to assist emissions discount tasks and compliance choices for safeguard amenities,” APPEA’s submission states.

The up to date safeguard mechanism ought to “present for acceptable worldwide permits to be included within the vary of compliance choices, as quickly as they’re obtainable.”

Offshore platform sits in the middle of the ocean
APPEA desires to make sure new vegetation that come on-line would be capable of benefit from offsets. (ExxonMobil web site )

Local weather Change and Power Minister Chris Bowen has beforehand indicated the usage of worldwide carbon credit would solely be permitted beneath strict circumstances.

“[It would only be allowed] if the federal government was 100 per cent assured and happy within the integrity of these emissions reductions,” he said last month.

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Feral honey bees to be poisoned in NSW varroa mite hotspots to prevent spread of parasite



#Feral #honey #bees #poisoned #NSW #varroa #mite #hotspots #stop #unfold #parasite

Authorities will start baiting feral bees in a single crimson eradication zone subsequent week, greater than three months after varroa mite was detected on the Port of Newcastle.

Whereas destroying feral hives has been a key a part of the NSW authorities’s varroa mite eradication technique, the Division of Main Industries (DPI) stated it had been unable to try this whereas there have been managed hives within the zones.

“Managed hive bees will decide up the bait after which go into their nest after which the managed hive will get killed, there isn’t any means then of figuring out whether or not there was a reside hive or a lifeless hive sitting there,” chief plant safety officer Satendra Kumar stated.

The DPI will use the insecticide fiprinol in baits to draw the feral European honey bees, which take the poison again to their hives.

A man in a check blazer and a shirt with flowers sits at his desk in an office.
Dr Kumar says managed hives in crimson zones have to be destroyed earlier than authorities bait for feral bee colonies.(Provided: NSW DPI)

The baiting program will begin within the 10-kilometre crimson eradication zone of Jerry’s Plains within the Hunter area, the place all 19 managed hives within the zone have already been euthanased.

Dr Kumar stated the baiting stations can be monitored and might be in place for as much as 12 months.

“We’ll do our first spherical then we’ll come again [for] a lot of rounds and should you’re now not attracting any bees then that is a sign there isn’t any longer any bees current,” he stated.

A man holds a bee with a tiny brown varroa mite attached to it.
A varroa mite on a honey bee from a managed hive within the crimson zone.(Provided: Steve Fuller)

The DPI will proceed euthanasing managed hives in different crimson zones earlier than opening these as much as feral bee baits.

An enormous activity

A number one bee professional stated all feral bees within the crimson zones have to be destroyed if eradication of varroa mite in Australia was to achieve success.

Bruce White OAM, who labored for the NSW DPI as an apiary officer for greater than 40 years, stated the problem was to seek out each feral bee colony within the state’s crimson zones.

A man in a black and yellow shirt and a red hat smiles.
Veteran bee professional Bruce White says all feral bees in crimson zones have to be destroyed.(ABC Rural: Kim Honan)

“There is a large quantity of feral bees in that space so DPI, to eradicate varroa from this state, must kill each feral bee in each crimson zone to forestall the unfold of varroa reinfecting hives sooner or later,” he stated.

Mr White stated there was nonetheless numerous bee exercise in areas the place managed hives had been killed, and stated he had witnessed bees working blossoms in areas the place hives had been destroyed. 

Eggs and bacon flower, lotus corniculatus
Bruce White says the “eggs and bacon” plant is in full flower and feral bees can be booming.(Flickr: John Tann)

He stated there was as many feral honey bees as managed bees in NSW. 

“Our flora may be very appropriate for honey bees due to the eucalypts having numerous hollows in them, and bees are cavity dwellers so subsequently there’s numerous feral bees,” he stated.

“And the proof is the place many species are supposedly all being killed, there’s nonetheless numerous bees being noticed on flora.”

Dr Kumar stated he did not assume the roll-out of the feral bee baiting program had come too late as a result of authorities have been but to seek out any mites in feral nests.

“However having stated that, there’s each probability, particularly within the areas the place the infestations of varroa mite have been excessive, that there may be some bees carrying the mite and subsequently we wish to make it possible for we have removed these feral hives and bees,” he stated.

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