Farming in Australia has undergone many changes throughout history, with recent advancements in technology helping to create easier, efficient, and more automated modern practices.
Here’s a brief history of how farming has changed and how farm machinery has helped shape the industry.
Early farming practices
Australia’s farming history dates back to the early agricultural practices of First Nations people, including planting and harvesting crops, preserving surplus seeds in houses or sheds, building dams and wells to irrigate crops, controlled burning, and creating intricate traps to fish rivers and streams.
When Europeans arrived, they brought with them their agricultural technologies and changed much of Australia's landscape and shaped the main farming practices we still maintain today. Corn, wheat and barley were some of the only successful crops for early Europeans, as little was understood about the Australian land and climate. Eventually grazing livestock like sheep and cattle were introduced and soon became the largest agricultural enterprise.
Wool production began to dominate in the 19th century, while the dairy industry grew rapidly during the first half of the 20th century. Now, the beef industry is the largest agricultural enterprise in Australia, making us the second largest beef exporter, behind Brazil, in the world.
Modern farming in Australia
Australian agriculture has changed in recent years, and particularly over the last few decades. These changes have been driven by shifting consumer demands, changes to industry practices, emerging environmental concerns, and changes to government policies.
Exportation has continued to grow, with Australia currently exporting more agricultural products than we import, with around 70 per cent of our total agricultural production sent overseas. The value of all of our agriculture exports in 2018-19 was almost $49 billion.
While agriculture still contributes massively to our GDP and exportation, there are now fewer and larger farms across Australia than there were twenty years ago. Food production such as beef and crops is largely concentrated on bigger farms, so that the majority of output comes from large commercial farms. According to the ABS, there were 85,681 farms in Australia in 2016-17 with a gross value of production of $60.8 billion.
Thanks to these thousands of farms, Australia is world-renowned for producing everything from wheat, dairy, beef and sugar, to fruit, vegetables, nuts, and wine. With advancements in technology, environmental practices, and capacity and variety, the modern farming landscape has changed dramatically.
Advancements in farm machinery
In the early days of European settlements, cultivation was done by hand, as there were no draught animals or adequate machinery. Human labour from convicts however was readily available. As technology was soon introduced and adapted to the environment, ploughs and other tools helped to make farming practices easier and faster.
The introduction of rail and heavy machinery further increased the capacity and ease of farming. Horses or bullocks and carts were no longer necessary to make the long journeys into the city, and tractor trains and trucks replaced bullock teams for heavy work and transport.
The methods of feeding livestock also changed over the years as technology and machinery became more advanced. Hand-feeding methods and manual feed outs have been replaced with automated, efficient machinery like bale feeders. These technologies reduce the amount of feed wastage farmers experience and make it easier to feed large herds.
About our feeders
Advancements in technology and first-hand experience from farmers has informed the design of our livestock feeders, ensuring that they not only deliver on efficiency but also usability.
Our range of machines are built to last, purposely built with high-quality, durable materials. A testament to this is the fact that the first feeder we ever made is still going strong 17 years later. Understanding the unique and often harsh conditions in Australia is key to modern farming success, so we have built our feeders with Australian farmers in mind.
Our range of farm machinery includes:
The Albybone is a multi-bale feeder, capable of handling both round and square bales of hay. Each machine has a sophisticated independent tandem rock system, an extendable chamber to accommodate all bales, and can be used for carting in.
The Pa-Mick is a hay and silage feeder, which can carry up to two bales at a time, one of each type (round or square), and in any order. It also features an independent tandem rock system, and can be used for carting in and feeding out.
The Elite is a round bale feeder capable of carrying up to two bales at a time. It feeds out hay and silage, and has a strong, robust design, user-friendly maintenance, and a high ground clearance.
This round bale feeder can carry up to six bales (for the 6-bale model), and feeds out hay and silage. Smaller, custom machines can also be built if needed. The Champion has a versatile loading system with collapsible forks for safety.
If you’re looking for a WMI Feeder near you, you can check out one of our many farm equipment suppliers on our Dealers page. No matter where you are in Australia, we are here to support Australian farming.
If you have any questions, contact our friendly team here.