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Feeding the nation, and the world

In the face of a growing population, changing climate, and international competition, we need to improve our agricultural productivity to remain profitable, sustainable, and feed those hungry mouths.

[Music plays and the CSIRO logo appears in the centre of screen]

[Text appears: CSIRO, Growing the future]

[Music plays and an image of clouds in a blue sky appear and then the camera zooms out to show a paddock of stubble]

[Image changes to show sheep in the paddock and the camera pans across the flock of sheep]

[Image changes to show wheat heads waving in the wind and then the image changes to show sheep in yards]

Narrator: We’ve come a long way since farming began in Australia.

[Images move through of a finger pointing at a wall chart and people working in a laboratory]

But where are we heading? Can we foresee the future? Can we plan for it?

[Image changes to show a sign “Commonwealth of Australia Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and then black and white images move through of males talking, the entrance the CSIRO building and researchers in a library]

In 1916 when Prime Minister Billy Hughes established the Advisory Council of Science and Industry (eventually becoming the CSIRO) cutting edge technology in agriculture included

[Images move through of a male hand ploughing, a close-up of a harvester and wheat waving in the wind]

the stump jump plough, the combine harvester and rust-resistant wheat.

[Image changes to show an aerial view of four ploughs moving over a paddock]

Today, researchers are developing autonomous farm machinery

[Images move through of a male looking at a drone, two people sitting inside a helicopter, wheat heads and yabbies crawling in an aquarium]

and wireless farms that constantly monitor soil moisture, plant growth or animal health.

[Images move through of four ladies seated around a table having afternoon tea in a garden]

In 1916 we were only just beginning to eat pavlova and lamingtons, and drink coffee.

[Image changes to show a female working on a food processing line and then the camera zooms out to show the meals moving along the line and then the camera zooms in to show the meals]

Today we are investigating meals personalised to our needs and processing techniques

[Image changes to show a male inserting a bottle of oil into a white tube]

that preserve taste, texture and nutritional value like never before.

[Music plays and the camera pans over a scrubby landscape with the sun setting in the background and then the image changes and the camera pans over a green landscape]

The Australian bush has long been a managed landscape.

[Image changes to show the camera panning over a scrubby gorge and then the camera shows an aerial view of water at the base of the gorge]

Well before white people arrived, indigenous Australians engaged in systematic burning to enhance natural productivity,

[Camera zooms in on the water in the base of the gorge and then the image changes to show a sunset through wheat stalks waving in the wind]

managed complex fish trapping systems and sowed or planted food for harvest.

[Image changes to show a sheepdog running over the backs of the sheep in a yard]

From the days of riding on the sheep’s back,

[Image changes to show an aerial view of cattle around a tractor and then the image changes to show wheat stalks and then grasses waving in the wind]

agriculture in Australia has evolved significantly.

[Images move through of Friesian cattle grazing, a cotton plant and a bunch of grapes on a vine]

Our agriculture and food sectors are now diverse, high-value and high-tech.

[Image changes to show a female working in a laboratory and then images flash through of workers in a cotton field]

Innovation, ingenuity and hard work have got us to where we are today.

[Image changes to show a male operating a sprayer on the back of a tractor and then images move through of cattle and a truck moving towards the camera down a country road and the truck driver’s hands on the wheel]

Australia is a leading exporter of fine food, meats and grains.

[Image changes to show a truck lit up in the harvester’s head lights and then images move through of wheat stalks against a sunset and Friesian cattle grazing]

Australian agriculture has had to be adaptable as well as resilient and inventive.

[Image changes to show harvesters working in a field and then the image changes to show a male looking at the crop]

Farming has changed over the years but many of the same challenges remain:

[Images move through of a sprinkler operating, a windmill next to a dam, cattle running and a bug in a flower]

access to fresh water, vast distances, drought, soil fertility, pests and diseases.

[Images move through of sheep grazing, a car on a dirt road and a male and female in the middle of a planted crop]

In many agricultural industries, productivity has plateaued in recent years, making it increasingly difficult for Australian farmers to remain competitive.

[Images move through of a male looking at a crop and putting information into a digital device and then the camera zooms in on the male’s face]

There is an enormous challenge to increase production while lowering costs.

[Image changes to show the edge of a crop and then the image changes to show a male looking at the crop]

There are new challenges too, facing not just Australia but the world.

[Image changes to show cattle feeding on hay in a shed]

The world is getting hungrier.

[Image changes to show five people around tubs of meat and then the camera zooms in on one of the people writing and then the camera zooms out to show four of the people talking]

By 2050, there will be 70% or up to 2.4 billion more people on earth,

[Image changes to show a female putting a piece of meat into a machine and then images move through of oranges on a tree and a bee on a flower]

who will need 60 to 70% more food than what’s currently available.

[Images move through of a bunch of grapes on a vine and some cattle in a paddock]

The world is getting wealthier and consumers are demanding more and diverse foods.

[Images move through of a male working with carcasses of beef, a production line for cutting beef and customers looking at cuts of meat in a market]

In Asia alone, beef consumption is predicted to rise 120%.

[Images changes to show bread dough being kneaded]

Customers are becoming fussier.

[Images move through of a cooked loaf of bread being torn in half, grains moving through a machine, a hand opening to show grains and two males working on a factory line of pears and kale]

The consumers of 2050 will expect food to be nothing less than healthy, nutritious, clean, green and ethically produced.

[Image moves through of a wheat plant in a pot and then the camera zooms out to show a researcher working on the potted wheat plant and looking at a leaf under a microscope]

Technology is transforming industries.

[Image changes to show plants in a greenhouse and then the image changes to show a researcher putting monitoring equipment onto an oyster and placing the oyster in a tank]

Advanced digital, genetic and materials science technologies will enable farmers to improve how they produce food and fibre products.

[Images move through of a line graph and a male walking through a greenhouse of plants]

Innovative sensory systems and data analytics will create highly integrated ‘farm to fork’ supply chains.

[Image changes to show a farmer feeding hay to some cattle using a tractor]

Farmers will be able to make better decisions

[Image shows a male pushing a large machine through a field of canola]

and manage risk more effectively,

[Images move through of loaves of bread and a male removing loaves of bread from an oven]

while consumers will have greater access to trace the origins of their food.

[Images move through of a male looking at a canola plant, a hand holding a bud on a plant and then the image changes to show an aerial view of paddocks and people working with cotton in the back of a truck]

But Australian rural industries will also require greater resilience to withstand shocks associated with climate change, environmental change and globalisation.

[Images move through of an aerial view of cattle in a paddock, a female pulling out a bit of dough and tasting it and an aerial view looking down on people sitting at a trestle table enjoying a meal]

From the gene to the plate, now more than ever we need to embrace innovation and new technologies

[Images move through of a male carving meat]

to meet the challenges of the future.

[Images move through of a male inside a large warehouse and two males in front of a herd of cattle in a paddock and then the camera zooms in on the cattle]

Working together, Australian researchers and industries have an extraordinary opportunity to shape the way

[Image changes to show a young boy hoeing a patch of ground]

our agriculture and food sectors operate in the coming years.

[Image changes to show two farmers talking next to a gate and the camera zooms out to show a tractor in the foreground]

By combining our efforts, we can be at the forefront of global innovation.

[Text appears: With thanks to: Rob Birtle, CSIRO, Jamie Scarrow, High Resolution Plan Phenomics Centre, CSIRO Agersens Australian Meat Processor Corporation]

[CSIRO logo and text appears: Australia’s innovation catalyst]

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