CSIRO bets the farm on new AI platform for agriculture analytics

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CSIRO bets the farm on new AI platform for agriculture analytics
DAS CEO Anthony Willmott. Source: CSIRO

Investors ready to RIP into data rich modelling.

The CSIRO has today launched a new artificial intelligence-powered platform that brings together a trove of land-use data for agribusiness to better predict performance.

The Rural Intelligence Platform combines a variety of technology developed by CSIRO over the years, including the Digital Soil Map and satellite imagery analysis, to comprehensively assess and monitor rural land anywhere across the country.

To do so, RIP takes into account elements like access to water, crop types, rainfall, drought impact, yield and historical productivity.

Climate information is also interpreted to show how drought, frost, and heat stress for livestock are likely to impact on farmers.

The platform combines all of these features using machines learning, and incorporates an AI-initiated Automation Valuation Model - the same technology used by real estate agencies to gain a quick, relatively accurate estimate of a residential property’s value - that the CSIRO said has can instantly value rural properties with up 90 percent accuracy.

Digital Agricultural Services (DAS), a collaborator on the project that was established in partnership with the CSIRO in 2017, estimates $125 billion in agricultural economic decisions in Australia each year are based on unreliable or incomplete data.

DAS has already worked with several companies to pilot the platform, with strong interest coming from the property, financial services and insurance sectors.

"Digital agriculture is far more than just on-farm technology, it's also about improving off-farm decision making and this platform lays the foundation for Australia to become a leader in new generation agricultural analytics," DAS CEO Anthony Willmott said.

"This is about supporting the ecosystem that supports the farmer – ensuring that farmers, business, policy makers and anyone invested along the agricultural ecosystem has the right rural data to make more informed decisions."

"The platform provides accurate information that can help to identify vulnerability or the most promising options for investment that will build resilience," CSIRO Agriculture and Food deputy director Dr Michael Robertson added.

"This is a whole new model for rural analytics which will make it easier to quantify risk and prepare for challenges like climate volatility and change."

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