Harvesting sustainability + tech advancements in modern Agriculture

Harvesting sustainability + tech advancements in modern Agriculture

If you're one of those people who lie awake at night thinking up new ideas and how to do business better then you can probably relate to Nick Pyke. He is a Director at AgInnovate + Pāmu, a Co-Founder of Leftfield Innovation and a trustee for AGMARDT.

Pyke, whose expertise spans from a research scientist to leadership roles in various agricultural companies, shares his vision for a diversified and innovative approach to farming that is environmentally, socially, and financially viable. Pyke provides insight into regional projects, such as the Taranaki region's branching out program, which experiments with crops like garlic, sweet corn, and fava beans. 

He emphasises the importance of these crops in not only improving farm productivity but also in meeting market demands.

"So we've taken that now to work with Venture Taranaki on their branching out program and looking at how crops could be integrated more effectively into the farm systems up in the Taranaki region," Pyke explains, highlighting the initiative's potential to enhance agricultural practices. 

The conversation also touches upon the concept of social sustainability in agriculture. Pyke points out the critical role of labour availability, skillsets, and community support in the success of diversified farming operations. He recounts efforts in the East Cape region to create year-round employment through a system of interlinked crops, demonstrating his commitment to community enrichment through agricultural development. 

Furthermore, he discusses AGMARDT's role in fostering innovation, capability building, and partnerships within the agri-food industry. AGMARDT's investment in leadership programs is particularly notable, as it aims to equip the workforce with the skills necessary to navigate future challenges, including the integration of AI and robotics into agriculture. 

"We need leadership at all levels across our sector," says Pyke, stressing the importance of preparing for the future of the industry. 

He acknowledges the challenges of predicting exactly how AI will shape the industry but asserts the importance of using it to enhance productivity. 

"We've got to recognise, though, that the human brain is where the creativity is going to need to come from."

Pyke's contributions to agriculture focus on creating a more dynamic, responsive, and sustainable farming landscape, recognising the importance of community, technology, and strategic market engagement in shaping the future of the industry.

Listen to the full chat between Nick Pyke and Dominic George above.

To check out more episodes listen to the REX Podcast anytime on your favourite streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music and Rova or tune in to REX Mornings live on Magic from 5 am to 6 am every weekday.

Visit the Rural Exchange Facebook or Instagram page for more information and regular updates from the REX team.