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Growing the Future Essays

Last updated: 28 March 2018

This essay series debates the future direction of agriculture and food, and discusses how research can respond to emerging challenges and opportunities.

Growing the Future essay series

Now more than ever we need to embrace innovation and new technologies, from the gene to the plate. Our Growing the Future essay series discusses new opportunities and challenges related to innovation in the agriculture and food sectors, both in Australia and internationally.

Published essays

  • Long-term rural research partnerships still delivering value
    By Larry Marshall
    Australia’s Rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) are critical to turning our science into real world innovation. They have supported Australian science and research for decades, making life better for our farmers, agribusinesses, and by extension, our whole nation. Here, we repost a speech given by CSIRO Chief Executive, Dr Larry Marshall, to the Council of Rural RDCs.
  • Digital agriculture: what’s all the fuss about?
    By Michael Robertson, Andrew Moore, Dave Henry and Simon Barry
    Predictive analytics, remote sensing, knowledge management and blockchain: buzzwords or the ultimate disruptors? We take a look at upcoming digital technologies and discuss how they can reduce costs and boost farm productivity.
  • Changing face of agribusiness creates new opportunities
    By John Manners
    Agribusiness innovation is now increasingly being found in partnerships and alliances between research organisations and industry; from multi-national agribusiness giants with billions of dollars at their disposal all the way to small-scale start-ups with little more than a good idea, determination and some savvy investors.
  • Agricultural innovation as important today as 100 years ago
    By Brian Keating and Kate Langford
    For much of its modern existence, Australia has built its fortune on raw commodities; wool, wheat and a wealth of mineral resources. But as the mining boom slows, and issues such as food security, climate change and sustainability come to the forefront of global consciousness, a new opportunity is arising for Australian producers and manufacturers to position themselves at the forefront of the food and agribusiness revolution.
  • The Future of Food
    By Martin Cole and Manny Noakes
    For much of its modern existence, Australia has built its fortune on raw commodities; wool, wheat and a wealth of mineral resources. But as the mining boom slows, and issues such as food security, climate change and sustainability come to the forefront of global consciousness, a new opportunity is arising for Australian producers and manufacturers to position themselves at the forefront of the food and agribusiness revolution.

Next essay

  • Innovation in the Asian Century
    Asia is emerging as a major hub of agri-food industry innovation that could be pivotal in helping the region achieve sustainable and inclusive growth ambitions. Can Australia offer support to this hot spot of entrepreneurial innovation in ways that also create new trade and innovation opportunities for Australian businesses and science? What sort of public and private sector investments are needed to make this a win-win collaboration that strengthens both Australia and its Asian partners’ ability to innovate for a sustainable and prosperous future?

[Music plays and the CSIRO logo appears in the centre of screen]

[Text appears: CSIRO, Growing the future]

[Music plays and an image of clouds in a blue sky appear and then the camera zooms out to show a paddock of stubble]

[Image changes to show sheep in the paddock and the camera pans across the flock of sheep]

[Image changes to show wheat heads waving in the wind and then the image changes to show sheep in yards]

Narrator: We’ve come a long way since farming began in Australia.

[Images move through of a finger pointing at a wall chart and people working in a laboratory]

But where are we heading? Can we foresee the future? Can we plan for it?

[Image changes to show a sign “Commonwealth of Australia Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and then black and white images move through of males talking, the entrance the CSIRO building and researchers in a library]

In 1916 when Prime Minister Billy Hughes established the Advisory Council of Science and Industry (eventually becoming the CSIRO) cutting edge technology in agriculture included

[Images move through of a male hand ploughing, a close-up of a harvester and wheat waving in the wind]

the stump jump plough, the combine harvester and rust-resistant wheat.

[Image changes to show an aerial view of four ploughs moving over a paddock]

Today, researchers are developing autonomous farm machinery

[Images move through of a male looking at a drone, two people sitting inside a helicopter, wheat heads and yabbies crawling in an aquarium]

and wireless farms that constantly monitor soil moisture, plant growth or animal health.

[Images move through of four ladies seated around a table having afternoon tea in a garden]

In 1916 we were only just beginning to eat pavlova and lamingtons, and drink coffee.

[Image changes to show a female working on a food processing line and then the camera zooms out to show the meals moving along the line and then the camera zooms in to show the meals]

Today we are investigating meals personalised to our needs and processing techniques

[Image changes to show a male inserting a bottle of oil into a white tube]

that preserve taste, texture and nutritional value like never before.

[Music plays and the camera pans over a scrubby landscape with the sun setting in the background and then the image changes and the camera pans over a green landscape]

The Australian bush has long been a managed landscape.

[Image changes to show the camera panning over a scrubby gorge and then the camera shows an aerial view of water at the base of the gorge]

Well before white people arrived, indigenous Australians engaged in systematic burning to enhance natural productivity,

[Camera zooms in on the water in the base of the gorge and then the image changes to show a sunset through wheat stalks waving in the wind]

managed complex fish trapping systems and sowed or planted food for harvest.

[Image changes to show a sheepdog running over the backs of the sheep in a yard]

From the days of riding on the sheep’s back,

[Image changes to show an aerial view of cattle around a tractor and then the image changes to show wheat stalks and then grasses waving in the wind]

agriculture in Australia has evolved significantly.

[Images move through of Friesian cattle grazing, a cotton plant and a bunch of grapes on a vine]

Our agriculture and food sectors are now diverse, high-value and high-tech.

[Image changes to show a female working in a laboratory and then images flash through of workers in a cotton field]

Innovation, ingenuity and hard work have got us to where we are today.

[Image changes to show a male operating a sprayer on the back of a tractor and then images move through of cattle and a truck moving towards the camera down a country road and the truck driver’s hands on the wheel]

Australia is a leading exporter of fine food, meats and grains.

[Image changes to show a truck lit up in the harvester’s head lights and then images move through of wheat stalks against a sunset and Friesian cattle grazing]

Australian agriculture has had to be adaptable as well as resilient and inventive.

[Image changes to show harvesters working in a field and then the image changes to show a male looking at the crop]

Farming has changed over the years but many of the same challenges remain:

[Images move through of a sprinkler operating, a windmill next to a dam, cattle running and a bug in a flower]

access to fresh water, vast distances, drought, soil fertility, pests and diseases.

[Images move through of sheep grazing, a car on a dirt road and a male and female in the middle of a planted crop]

In many agricultural industries, productivity has plateaued in recent years, making it increasingly difficult for Australian farmers to remain competitive.

[Images move through of a male looking at a crop and putting information into a digital device and then the camera zooms in on the male’s face]

There is an enormous challenge to increase production while lowering costs.

[Image changes to show the edge of a crop and then the image changes to show a male looking at the crop]

There are new challenges too, facing not just Australia but the world.

[Image changes to show cattle feeding on hay in a shed]

The world is getting hungrier.

[Image changes to show five people around tubs of meat and then the camera zooms in on one of the people writing and then the camera zooms out to show four of the people talking]

By 2050, there will be 70% or up to 2.4 billion more people on earth,

[Image changes to show a female putting a piece of meat into a machine and then images move through of oranges on a tree and a bee on a flower]

who will need 60 to 70% more food than what’s currently available.

[Images move through of a bunch of grapes on a vine and some cattle in a paddock]

The world is getting wealthier and consumers are demanding more and diverse foods.

[Images move through of a male working with carcasses of beef, a production line for cutting beef and customers looking at cuts of meat in a market]

In Asia alone, beef consumption is predicted to rise 120%.

[Images changes to show bread dough being kneaded]

Customers are becoming fussier.

[Images move through of a cooked loaf of bread being torn in half, grains moving through a machine, a hand opening to show grains and two males working on a factory line of pears and kale]

The consumers of 2050 will expect food to be nothing less than healthy, nutritious, clean, green and ethically produced.

[Image moves through of a wheat plant in a pot and then the camera zooms out to show a researcher working on the potted wheat plant and looking at a leaf under a microscope]

Technology is transforming industries.

[Image changes to show plants in a greenhouse and then the image changes to show a researcher putting monitoring equipment onto an oyster and placing the oyster in a tank]

Advanced digital, genetic and materials science technologies will enable farmers to improve how they produce food and fibre products.

[Images move through of a line graph and a male walking through a greenhouse of plants]

Innovative sensory systems and data analytics will create highly integrated ‘farm to fork’ supply chains.

[Image changes to show a farmer feeding hay to some cattle using a tractor]

Farmers will be able to make better decisions

[Image shows a male pushing a large machine through a field of canola]

and manage risk more effectively,

[Images move through of loaves of bread and a male removing loaves of bread from an oven]

while consumers will have greater access to trace the origins of their food.

[Images move through of a male looking at a canola plant, a hand holding a bud on a plant and then the image changes to show an aerial view of paddocks and people working with cotton in the back of a truck]

But Australian rural industries will also require greater resilience to withstand shocks associated with climate change, environmental change and globalisation.

[Images move through of an aerial view of cattle in a paddock, a female pulling out a bit of dough and tasting it and an aerial view looking down on people sitting at a trestle table enjoying a meal]

From the gene to the plate, now more than ever we need to embrace innovation and new technologies

[Images move through of a male carving meat]

to meet the challenges of the future.

[Images move through of a male inside a large warehouse and two males in front of a herd of cattle in a paddock and then the camera zooms in on the cattle]

Working together, Australian researchers and industries have an extraordinary opportunity to shape the way

[Image changes to show a young boy hoeing a patch of ground]

our agriculture and food sectors operate in the coming years.

[Image changes to show two farmers talking next to a gate and the camera zooms out to show a tractor in the foreground]

By combining our efforts, we can be at the forefront of global innovation.

[Text appears: With thanks to: Rob Birtle, CSIRO, Jamie Scarrow, High Resolution Plan Phenomics Centre, CSIRO Agersens Australian Meat Processor Corporation]

[CSIRO logo and text appears: Australia’s innovation catalyst]


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@Example Essays

    What the future will be like



    4 Pages
    966 Words

                 What the future will be like? This question worried and is worrying people. We know almost everything about the past; it has been written a lot of books about the past. Future does not program. We can only conjecture what the future will be like. Now, we live in the world of technology. Every day new technology appears, ranging from mini-CD's that contain entire encyclopedias to giant space telescopes that can send photographs of distant stars back to Earth. Technology has the greatest influence on the daily lives of average people. By this time we can work and take care of personal business without living the house, people even start on-line romances in the chat rooms, every man who have enough money can explore the space. For the last hundred years the biggest spurt of scientific and technological revolution has been done. And what differences will be in technology in next hundred years?
                
    By this time a lot of difficult tasks are doing by the robot. In the future robots will replace a lot of professions. Housekeepers, baby-sitters, sick-nurses, hospital nurses, secretaries, waitresses, sellers, street-cleaners, taxi drivers will be replaced by robots. As distinct from sick-nurses and hospital nurses, robots will spend all time with patient. Robots will help patient to move, it will watch closely after state of health and transmit data to the doctor. Most of the surgical operations will be carried by robots. Even our house will be "big robot". It is a very good example of the future house in the short- story of Ray Bradbury, "There Will Come Soft Rains". Robots in the house will be smart to make our lives as comfortable as it possible. They will take care about our children, cook food, clean the house, pay our bills and take care about our pets. Robots will understand human speech and they will be able to receive all orders by the Internet. Robots will wage war. There will be fighting
                

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