Chinese interest in Australian agriculture is proving to be far more than just buying our meat, grain, fibre and horticultural exports – China wants to help produce those exports.
Irrigation technology and animal husbandry products were some of the areas where Chinese exhibitors at this year’s big AgQuip field days were keen to demonstrate expertise to local farmers and equipment suppliers.
General manager of Shandong-based Suree Intelligent Technology, Chunhe Li, was one of at least 50 Chinese visitors, representing 30 companies, at Gunnedah.
Some delegates were returning for the second or third time, exhibiting along side US, German and New Zealand companies in an international pavilion.
Mr Li’s company builds automatic irrigation management gear, including remote soil moisture sensors, to improve water use efficiency on crops, pastures and lawns.
Suree’s origins were in video security monitoring systems, but it evolved to provide solar-powered hydrographic and meteorological information which can be monitored from an office or smartphone.
Cameras can also transmit site images to provide real-time observation of paddocks, orchards and irrigation gear.
Suree’s patented remote intelligent control and alarm systems are used by water authorities, environmental authorities, civic parkland managers and in broadacre agriculture in China.
From the vast plains of Inner Mongolia the Zhonghu Irrigation Equipment Company was at AgQuip promoting its giant lateral move and centre pivot rigs, already sold in North America Paraguay and Saudi Arabia.
Zhonghui originally built overhead watering systems and irrigation components for western brands, developing its own 320-metre long centre pivot irrigator in 2009 and towable pivots the following year.
It now makes about 1300 pivot and lateral move units a year, typically in the 350-metre to 400m size range.
Since 2015 the company’s irrigators have included remote control functions.
Pump and irrigation fitting manufacturers were also among this years Chinese exhibitor contingent which Fairfax Rural Events group manager, Kate Nugent, said included a group of about 12 representatives from one company.
While language barriers were sometimes a challenge for the overseas visitors breaking into the local market, and for Australian farmers trying to fully appreciate what was on offer from China, Ms Nugent said the Chinese delegates did not appear deterred.
“I think many regard an event like AgQuip as a perfect chance to come to Australia see for themselves what else is in the market here already, and assess what technology is used by our farmers.”