Schoen gives a window into the future of agriculture

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Derek Schoen outlined the positive future for agriculture at the Henty Machinery Field Days.

Picturesque paddocks of golden canola may be a thing of the past as plant technology progresses rapidly, according to NSW Farmers Association president Derek Schoen.

Future canola crops may either be blue or have no petals at all, reducing crop liability, Mr Schoen said.

He addressed visitors at The Stump at the Henty Machinery Field Days on Wednesday, September 21.

Mr Schoen, a Corowa farmer, reflected on how far agriculture had come compared to 20 years ago.

“In those days we had mobile phones that wouldn’t even fit in your pocket – they were carried on a shoulder strap,’’ he said.

“There was little or no auto steer in tractors and variable transmissions were a thing of the future.

“Looking at the Henty field days today and the advances in technology on display, agriculture has come a long, long way.’’

Mr Schoen said auto steer was now mainstream, most tractors have some form of automatic transmission and drones were commonplace in monitoring crops, stock and watering points.

“The average mobile phone now has more capacity than what was used to send man to the moon,’’ he said.

“No longer do we have to wait for grain prices to be phoned or faxed – immediate, real time information is available in the palm of our hands.

“We can also conduct the contracts for selling that grain before the truck leaves the paddock.’’

Mr Schoen said the big advances in agriculture would be in biotechnology, plant technology and autonomous tractors.

He said a new variety of blue flowering canola sporting disease resistant traits would be available in the future.

“Eventually, canola without flowering petals will be bred as the petals are considered a liability to plant health and have become redundant in the modern day canola plant.’’

Mr Schoen said future cereal and canola crops would synthesise their own nitrogen, eliminating the need for top dressing with fertiliser.

Perennial wheat varieties will be a plant of the future, enabling a wheat crop to be harvested up to three times before resowing.

“Agriculture is a really positive space and has become sexy as an occupation,’’ Mr Schoen said.