Robots and artificial intelligence will replace workers on Australia’s first fully automated farm created at a cost of $20 million.

Key points:

  • Australia’s first “hands-free farm” will be created at Wagga Wagga
  • Global Digital Farm to be built at Charles Sturt’s AgriPark at the University’s Wagga Wagga campus
  • They will use autonomous vehicles, drones, sensors, data analytics, geospatial mapping, remote sensing, machine learning and cybersecurity technology

Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga will create the “hands-free farm” on a 1,900-hectare property to demonstrate what robots and artificial intelligence can do without workers in the paddock. 

Food Agility chief executive Richard Norton said the reality of “hands-free” farming’ was closer than many people realised.

“Full automation is not a distant concept. We already have mines in the Pilbara operated entirely through automation”, he said

Large robot design for farm use

A lot of future farming technology has been demonstrated a field days and events around Australia.(

ABC News: Kathleen Calderwood

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The farm will use robotic tractors, harvesters, survey equipment and drones, artificial intelligence that will handle sowing, dressing and harvesting, new sensors to measure plants, soils and animals and carbon management tools to minimise the carbon footprint. 

The farm is already operated commercially and grows a range of broadacre crops, including wheat, canola, and barley, as well as a vineyard, cattle and sheep.

Four men in suits between two signs in an outside area.

At the launch of the project were (from left) Food Agility Chief Scientist Professor David Lamb, Food Agility CEO Mr Richard Norton, Charles Sturt University Interim Vice-Chancellor Professor John Germov, and Charles Sturt University Chief Operating Officer Mr Rick Willmott(

Supplied: Charles Sturt University

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Mr Norton said they would focus initially on autonomous vehicles that could harvest a crop while the farmer slept.

“We might also see mechanical autonomous harvesting in horticultural crops and in grape-growing areas,” Mr Norton said.

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Hands-free farming just a robotic arm’s length away
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