It is no secret that being a modern farmer is not easy!

Farming has been a staple of New Zealand's economy, with the nation's history intertwined with our primary industries.

But development of farming in our country has been anything but stable.

Researchers from the likes of Massey University and Landcare Research have come together to solve the ongoing problem of creating sustainable, yet profitable farming practices.


Innovation and research may provide answers to successfully competing in the global economy, and New Zealand's agriculture sector is leading the way in precision agriculture.

New Zealand has been known to be a world leader in farming techniques and innovation, ensuring we make the most of our precious resources, particularly with increasing pressure to reduce waste and contribute to the clean, green New Zealand we aspire to.

The New Zealand Agrifood Investment Week, March 13-18 in Palmerston North, recognises the position we hold as a world leader in farming innovation and the value of supporting agriculture to compete in the globalised economy.

Food is the future of farming - but what innovations will enable us to continue to be profitable without damaging our landscapes?

One such innovator is Sprout, an agritech accelerator connecting Kiwi agritech innovators and entrepreneurs to the world stage, enabling access to world markets and global partnerships.

The power of collaboration is strong and positions New Zealand as a leader in the agritech and innovation space.

At the forefront of such research is Carolyn Hedley, a soil scientist from Landcare Research, who is one of the keynote speakers at the Future Farms Conference - a highlight of NZ Agrifood Investment Week.

Her presentation and several panel discussions are about helping farmers through science and innovation to make better use of our freshwater and comply with nation-wide pressures to minimise waste.


For example, wireless sensors can monitor soil moisture and provide farmers with remote access to data through their smart devices, showing that the future of precision agriculture has already come to the paddocks of New Zealand.

Advancements in technology such as this can allow the sector to become more profitable with leading edge farming practices helping us deliver high quality products in an increasingly crowded world economy.

The Internet of Things has already shown itself to be disrupting New Zealand's farming sector, with advances in not only irrigation management, but across the board.

These applications include the monitoring of nitrogen levels and milk production for precise and efficient farming.

Collaboration is key for the development of new farming practices, as will be highlighted at the Future Farms conference by Douglas Dibley, the demonstration manager of the exciting Owl Farm venture in the Waikato.

This model farm brings together leaders in the sector to showcase and develop tools to enable farmers to farm sustainably and profitably.

- Dibley and Hedley are just two of the thought-leaders forging their way to the future of sustainable farming practices in New Zealand. The 4th Annual NZ Future Farms Conference brings together industry leaders, with the support of Federated Farmers, to look at innovation within the farming sector and help farmers embrace the future of agriculture. Go to: