Build it. Use it. Profit.

Supporting the exciting development and widespread adoption of robotic technology, drones, precision agriculture and other big data and sensor applications in our region, Central Highlands Development Corporation in partnership with the Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries held the inaugural AgTeCH17: Build it, Use it, Profit on Wednesday, 8 November 2017. To view the program from AgTeCH17 please click here.

Former Executive Producer and Landline Reporter, Peter Lewis, emceed the event, which featured two expert speaker panels discussing early stage and commercial applications of Automation (robotics and drones) and Data enabled and precision agriculture, with plenty of opportunity to ask questions.

A selection of images from the event can be viewed here.

Peter Lewis
Way With Words – Respected Rural Journalist
The director of Brisbane-based consultancy Way with Words after a 35 year career in broadcast journalism.

He’s a former National Rural & Regional Reporter for ABC News and Current Affairs, foreign correspondent and Executive Producer of ABC-TV’s Landline programme.

Pete is a representative on the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ), Vice-President of the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists (ACAJ) and past president of the Rural Press Club of Queensland.

Andrew Bate
Managing Director, Swarmfarm Robotics
  The vision to develop small, autonomous robotic farming technology came from innovative grain and cattle farmer Andrew Bate. He and his wife Jocie, an agricultural economist, set up Swarmfarm Robotics. Andrew has spent a life time in agriculture; he has trained as an agronomist, and farms at Gindie near Emerald, Central Queensland, Australia. Andrew is passionate about ensuring the future generations of farmers have a vibrant, economic, and sustainable future in the cropping industry. Andrew graduated from the University of Queensland with an Assoc. Dip App Science – Agronomy. He is a mentor on the Westpac Business of Tomorrow Program.
Andrew Greste
General Manager, Waverley Ag, Burren Junction
  Andrew grew up in the suburbs of Brisbane, then went on to study a Bachelor of Applied Science, Agriculture at Hawkesbury Agricultural College.

He stumbled into the cotton industry after applying for a job at Colly Farms Cotton at Collarenebri. After 3 yrs at Colly he moved to the Namoi Valley to manage “Waverley” for the Carolan family where he has been ever since. Waverley is a mixture of irrigated and dryland cotton, winter and summer grains and legumes. Andrew has overseen numerous irrigation developments and expansions during his tenure at “Waverley” including the latest move from over the bank poly syphon’s to automated flood irrigation systems.

Aaron Marsh
National Technology Solution Expert Manager, Komatsu Australia
  Aaron has the responsibility of introduction and market development for intelligent machine control and Smart construction business covering Australia and New Zealand. Previous to this position Aaron was the National Operator Training Supervisor, managing the regional operator trainers nationally and providing product training through the National Construction Division Training.
Josh Voelker
Manager Australia & New Zealand, PrecisionHawk
  Originally from the United States, Josh has been a licensed pilot since the age of 17 years. He holds a Commercial UAV Pilot’s License and a Remote Pilot’s License in Australia. He attended Indiana State University where he received a degree in Aviation and Unmanned Systems. Josh has worked for PrecisionHawk for over two years. As a drone pilot he has spent most of his time in paddocks around the world servicing the agricultural industry. He also worked on key projects such as Chief Pilot for PrecisionHawk’s involvement with the NASA UTM (Unmanned Traffic Management) project and with the Federal Aviation Administration Project Pathfinder for BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight). Josh managed the flight operations team at the company’s headquarters in Raleigh with sales responsibility . In October of 2016 Josh was promoted into Business Development and shortly was named the inaugural manager of Australia and New Zealand.
Karl Wouters
Director, Hunter Drone Services Queensland
Karl is passionate about technology and problem solving. His drone service business couples his dual interests to offer custom solutions to a variety of industries.

Over the past 15 months Karl has been operating Hunter Drone Services Queensland out of Emerald and has grown his business to service multiple clients throughout Australia.

With a keen interest in agriculture he is striving to bring the benefits of advancements in drone sensor technology to the Emerald region.

Stephen Hegarty
Precision Farming Manager, VNET Precision Farming
Stephen leads Vanderfield’s strategy on assisting customers and their advisors with implementation of Precision Ag strategies. From a farm machinery and GPS perspective, this includes developing processes to ensure the data collected is accurate for use by agronomists as decision support and that machine control commands such as prescription rate files are successfully implemented.

Vanderfield Pty Ltd are a John Deere dealership with 12 stores spread through Qld, NT and northern WA. Stephen has been in this role for 5 years. Previously he spent 10 years working as a broad acre field agronomist on the Western Darling Downs around the Meandarra and Surat districts.

Tim Neale
Principal Agricultural Consultant, Premise Agriculture
Tim is an agricultural consultant with over 20 years’ experience across Australia and internationally, 15 of which was spent running his own business. Tim’s strong ag tech focus has been driven by an evolution from CTF (controlled traffic farming, auto-steer guidance technology, elevation mapping and water planning, yield mapping, variable rate, soil mapping, and satellite imagery.
 Bridie Ohlsson
External Relations Manager, AgriDigital
Bridie heads up the blockchain pilot work and manages AgriDigital’s industry relations with government, agribusinesses and the tech startup ecosystem. Bridie has a background in legal research, policy analysis and compliance in the legal and not-for-profit sectors. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney, and a Bachelor of Arts in French and Politics studying both at the University of Sydney and Sciences Po, Paris. Bridie is also the co founder of sustainable food production startup, Crecos.

AgriDigital develops software solutions to bring trust and transparency to global agricultural supply chains. In October 2016, AgriDigital launched their agri-commodity management platform for farmers, buyers and site operators. In December 2016, they successfully completed the first ever settlement of a physical agri-commodity on a blockchain between a farmer and a buyer.

Dr Dave Swain
Professor of Agriculture, CQUniversity
Dave Swain’s research activities are focussed on precision livestock management. In particular he is interested in livestock behavioural adaptation within extensive livestock production systems. Dave was involved in developing technology for precision livestock management to address issues associated with livestock environment interactions. The precision livestock management work has involved him working to develop wireless sensor network capability for livestock research and associated livestock management.

Dave Swain is Professor of Agriculture and Head of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and the Sciences at CQUniversity.

Derrick Thompson
Senior Manager, Key Account & Business Development, Hitachi Australia
  Responsible for business development in the technology area for agriculture and livestock, Derrick has over 25 years of global experience in delivering automation solutions from the simple to the complex in the USA, Asia and Western Europe. Derrick commenced Hitachi’s agriculture technology activities in Australia based on the success of the Japanese Government funded QZSS projects for autonomous control of farm equipment and has grown Hitachi’s offering to include Geomation solutions, drone services and Hitachi’s Process Intelligence for the agriculture value chain.