Dr. Jonathan Medway Head Research Agronomist CSU with President Richard Baguley and Dr. Tim Hutchings, Wollundry Member.
Members were given a glimpse into the mind boggling future of farming by our guest speaker Dr. Jonathan Medway at today's meeting .
In his introduction to our speaker, Dr. David Golland (Wollundry Rotary) revealed a long association with Jonathan who  now leads the research at CSU into Developments in the exciting new world of Agriculture Technology. Originally from Quirindi in northern NSW, Jonathan came to his current situation via Farrer Ag College and then to CSU. He set up  the school of Agricultural Technology which deals with all aspects of applying digital technology to maximising farm production, including drones, driverless tractors and harvesters, satellite crop monitoring, remote soil carbon testing, animal management systems to mention some.
Dr. Medway, hereon referred to as Jonathan, began by thanking Rotary for the opportunity to speak. Wisely President Richard allowed Jonathan to begin his presentation early in the meeting because his topic was so interesting and so detailed that the usual ten to twenty minutes would not have sufficed.
Taking us through a brief recount of the development of the digital age, Jonathan said that in 1986 when he started his degree in Agriculture, no one owned a computer. Over the past thirty years we have witnessed an exponential growth in digital technology from brick like telephones to the modern smart phone which is really a hand held, multi function computer, to satellites, drones, internet connections that allow real time satellite images, rain forecasts, as well as information sharing across states and countries. Each new technology is billed as the answer to every problem but this is not always the case and we musn't forget many of the useful things from the past. 
While robotics, paddock ready systems of agriculture, are estimated to add $20 billion of the $40 billion required to reach the target of $100 billion productivity, there is a major deficit in digital literacy, data analysis and support tools. CSU school of digital farming is designed to address this need.
What began in 1892 as the Wagga Experimental Farm is now CSU's, remarkably diverse, production farm covering 1,900 hectares, where experiments with modern technology can be explored.
The Digital Farm School started this year and is in the process of updating farm machinery to use robotics in every possible application. Sensors in the ground and drones can measure soil carbon. Animals can be monitored for food intake, weight gain, location of animals to provide best food opportunities. Machinery is interlinked by satellite to allow one person to operate up to four tractors. Harvesters are programmed to strip crops and fill wheat bins automatically.
CSU has an archive of data going back to the 1970's. This coupled with new analysis tools provides useful information for soil profiling and and mapping.
Members asked a number of questions regarding the use of virtual reality, manpower to use the technology and where we are placed in the world with the use of digital technology.
Dr. Tim Hutchings gave a vote of thanks for this very interesting talk and referred to his own observed experience of automatic container loading onto boats and a fully automated stud sale that he was attending via zoom in his office.
Farming is indeed becoming hi-tech.