Water is a critical input for agricultural production, so managing its usage is crucial to making the most of farming enterprises.
But being located on one of the driest continents poses challenges.
Water wise farming is the focus of episode four of the AgTech Revolution series.
Water Dynamics branch manager Andrew Heslin said given population growth and the need for food export growth in Australia, it was widely expected that the agricultural sector will have to expand the use of irrigation in the years ahead.
"We are very fortunate on a world scale that Australia produces much more food than it consumes, exporting around 70 per cent of agricultural production," he said.
"But competition for water resources is growing in many regions and, in response, planning bodies are focused on improving water productivity in agriculture so there is enough to satisfy expanding demand in all areas."
Deloitte partner and co-lead agrifood transformation and circularity Ben van Delden said efficient water management was key for Australian farming operations.
"Australian's agricultural industry is full of really hardy souls and you have to have hardy souls in Australian agriculture because it's a really arid environment that we operate in," he said.
Agrifutures managing director John Harvey said every drop was critical.
"The variability in our rainfall makes farming tricky and we're also a very old, ancient country, an ancient land, and our soils are worn out and so there is a need to farm very carefully, to get the yields and get the production, but also to protect that very fragile environment," he said.
Managing director of Novecom, leaders in environmental monitoring systems, Jeremy Pola said there weren't many people who would argue that water is the most precious resource in Australia.
"Having a focus on better management of water is one of those key community concerns, not just for agriculture," he said.
"It's a sharing between primary production, recreation and the natural environment, and that's the balance that's difficult.
"The potential is that you can have an elaborately instrumented farm where you know the level in every one of your tanks. You know what water is in your troughs, you know your dam levels, and you can do all of that without having to have a large workforce. At the moment there is a labour shortage and there's probably going to be a labour shortage for some time. To be able to supplement that labour with technology is both a cost saving and a time saving for the farmer. But it also just gives them the surety that they're not missing things that are going on because they can't get around to everything, every day."
Food Agility CRC chief scientist Prof David Lamb said the majority of Australian farmers don't have money to burn.
"They're generally time-poor so they default to the things they know, the things they've done for years and the things that are easy, the things that they see value for money in," he said.
"A tonne of fertiliser on a truck probably looks better than some app hidden three screens behind in your iPhone.
"The reality is that our farmers are generally cautious. We've got a great cohort of leaders and early adopters and innovators that are showing the way but it is a trickle down process."
Nutrien Ag senior agronomist Chris Levitzke said there was nothing like necessity to breed innovation and adoption.
"If you're in agriculture and you've got a lovely farm and there's no pressure and there's no debt, well then no one adopts anything very much," he said.
"But if you've got a fair bit of debt and you've got young ones coming home and you're trying to buy more land and you're trying to increase that production then that will drive that innovation. It will drive that uptake of technology and it will drive production."
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