High school students are seeing the significant benefits of automation and robotics in crop production through participating in the WA Robotics Playoffs (WARP) robotics competition.
Murdoch University is working with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), Curtin University and local industry to engage with 13–18-year-old high school students to develop and promote automation and high-tech careers in agriculture.
Surveys have found students associate agriculture with hard work and don't see it as a career option following an influx of news stories about labour shortages, and poor pay and conditions.
As such, DPIRD are supporting the WARP robotics program to drive a change in these perceptions amongst students and the broader community to understand Robotics can play a big part in increasing crop production, reducing labour and associated costs.
Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation Professor Peter Davies believes utilising high tech robotic automation for a hand-free farm experience is the answer to economic and labour feasibility.
“An important paper from the Harper Adams University Hands Free Farm project demonstrates medium-sized farms can produce arable crops at close to minimum per unit production cost levels,” Professor Davies said.
Essentially the paper discusses using robotic equipment on farms could see greater independence for farmers, a chance for smaller farms to become cost competitive, and less requirement for farmers to employ backpackers for hard labour.”Professor Peter Davies
“With this research, what we already know about robotics and agriculture and engaging the next generation we have a real chance of making this happen for farmers in WA.”
As part of the Robotics program, DPIRD are providing funding for students to participate in the WA Robotics Playoffs (WARP) robotics competition as well as an agriculture expo and related initiatives.
An innovation and careers expo will run across the event to introduce students to the opportunities available post school. Industry professionals will be on hand giving inciteful presentations describing their journey in primary industry. Whether you are competing, spectating, or attending the expo, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
The competition and expo will be held at Curtin Stadium 27 and 28 August. For more information on the competition and expo, visit the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development website.
By empowering this generation with the advances of technology and understanding the importance of agriculture, robotic farming is the key to economic viability." Professor Peter Davies
This research supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Quality Education), and Goal 9 (Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation).