Agtech the answer to future grain sorghum development

Dr Solomon Fekybelu
Dr Solomon Fekybelu. Image courtesy of Pacific Seeds

Australian broadacre farmers are set to benefit from increasing development and investment in grain sorghum focused Agtech.

Agtech funding is a hot topic in the broadacre industry and investment has increased significantly in the past 12 months with government investors, corporates and farmers driving significant innovation, focus and funding.

Pacific Seeds is investing in a range of technologies to deliver more robust and efficient solutions to farmers.

Pacific Seeds plant breeder Dr Solomon Fekybelu said the company was currently in the process of introducing multispectral imaging and drone technology into their grain sorghum breeding programs, which will rapidly speed up the data collection process.

“These innovative technologies are making the collection of data a more precise process,” said Dr Fekybelu.

“Tasks that used to take hours and even days to complete, now only take 20 minutes or so and can be completed at multiple stages during the crop cycle.

“Drone multispectral imaging technologies use green, red, red-edge and near infrared wavebands to capture both visible and invisible images of crops and vegetation.

“In the future we will be able to explore traits that simply are not possible to investigate with the current manual process due to the physical impediments of doing so.

“These technologies will speed up the development of comprehensively tested grain sorghum product that will be most relevant to changing climatic conditions.”

Dr Fekybelu said the next phase of implementation is focused on developing the best possible software and mathematical algorithms to enable breeders to analyse and interpret the significant amount of data now at our fingertips.

“This development is being completed with the support of our global network and in particular drawing on the expertise available in the United States, where the amount of money being invested into agricultural technology start-ups has increased 10-fold over the last decade,” said Dr Fekybelu.

“At Pacific Seeds, we believe innovation will bring the highest quality seeds and help resolve the challenges local farmers face.”

“With grain sorghum an important crop for both Australian farmers, Pacific Seeds is committed to furthering our investment in research and technologies that boost crop yields and improve grain quality and agronomic performance.

“As part of our breeding efforts we will be continuing to invest in Agtech to help us develop product specifically bred for Australian conditions and offer even greater choice and flexibility to growers.”

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