Hort looks to robots and youth

05 Jul, 2013 04:00 AM

ROBOTICS offers the Australian horticulture industry the chance to regain its competitive edge in the global market place, according to University of Sydney Professor Salah Sukkarieh.

Delegates at this year’s VFF Horticulture conference heard how the use of robots can dramatically lift Australia’s $1.7 billion horticultural industry.

“The efficiency gains that autonomous vehicles offer are incredible," Professor Sukkarieh said.

Professor Sukkarieh informed delegates on autonomous perception, an initiative the University of Sydney and Horticulture Australia Limited.

"The intelligence is so effective, it can even estimate yield and identify pests, weeds and diseases.

"What's impressive about this, is that we can control robots remotely, with an iPad or phone and they collect vital information," Mr Sukkarieh said.

The VFF Horticulture Group also formally elected a new president, Yarra Valley cut flower grower Owen Brinson.

With a focus on developing our next generation of leaders, Owen Brinson will take the reins at just 33 years of age.

Mr Brinson said he was excited by his appointment as President of the Group and was looking forward to leading the Victorian horticultural industry through challenging times ahead.

“Victorian grower’s face a number of issues and while it will be a learning curve for me, I welcome the challenge to assist the industry remain competitive and viable into the future.

Mr Brinson thanked the immediate past-president, Sue Finger for her tireless effort over the past two years.

“The Group has gained much from Sue’s strong leadership and we are pleased that she will remain active within the Group as our representative on the VFF Board and Policy Council,” Mr Brinson said.

Also representing the VFF horticulture group will be Colin McCormack as Deputy Chair and former President.

Peter Cochrane and Rien Silverstein also former presidents of the VFF Hort group will be on the Executive Committee.

Peter will take on the roles of Food, Safety and Chemicals and Rien will represent the group on the Workplace Relations Committee. Sue Finger will remain as the Horticulture Director on the VFF board and Horticulture representative on the VFF policy Council.

The VFF Horticulture Group Annual Meeting and Conference is currently being held, alongside the 2013 VFF Annual General Meeting and Conference, from 27-28 June at the Melbourne Showgrounds.


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