The farm of the future is in the making and the answer to the question ‘where is it?’ is not as simple as ‘here’ or ‘here’s where’.
It is the farm of dreams, a 3-D printed dream, a miniature city.
In the next couple of weeks, the 3D printer is set to arrive at the University of Queensland’s Animal Science Building, with the aim of creating a farm of their own in a few years.
“It’s an exciting time, because we’ve been able to bring a technology that has been very, very hard to get,” said Professor James Wilson, director of the Animal Science building.
“We’re actually a year into this and we’re at a very different stage of development.”
Professor Wilson’s vision is a miniature agricultural city in the Queensland countryside.
The 3D printing technology, called 3D Biomimetics, can be used to produce crops that can grow in a variety of climates, including a new one called ‘pollen farm’ in New South Wales.
The idea is to have farmers grow their own food in an environmentally friendly way, with no use of land or infrastructure.
“This is the technology that will allow us to scale up our technology, scale up the manufacturing capabilities of the technology and scale up food production in this country, and ultimately allow us, as a country, to feed the world,” Professor Wilson said.
The team is currently working with the local agriculture department to produce the prototype farm.
3D Printing Technology The team at the Agricultural Research Centre (ARC) has developed a prototype farm, which is being printed by 3D biomimetic technology.
“So far we have used a prototype that has only a few hectares of land, but it is growing a large crop, we’re using 3D technologies, we have a 3 dimensional printer, and we have the capability to do this with a few days’ planning and no equipment,” Professor John Mascaro said.
Professor Wilson hopes the farm will become a reality within the next two years.
The technology is already used to make food for local farms in Australia.
“Farmers can use 3D technology to get to where they need to go to get the best possible yield, or if they need a larger crop, to get a crop they’re not used to,” Professor Mascero said.
“In our case, we can get it into a small area, but then we have this large and productive yield, and that is just an example of what could be possible in the future.”
The technology could also be used for the manufacture of food products, including dairy products.
3-Layer Farm The 3-layer farm could be used as a demonstration to test out the technology, or used as the basis for a farm on the larger scale.
The first step would be to use a printer to build the farm, with a goal of having a 3,000-hectare farm in three years time.
“The technology we are looking at is going to allow us the ability to produce food in the small space, and in the big space,” Professor Jules van de Vries, director and chief scientist at the Agriculture Museum, said.
That’s something that has never been possible in Australia before.
The concept of a 3d printed farm is not new.
In fact, the idea was first demonstrated in the early 1900s.
The Agricultural Research Institute at the university was the first to produce a 3 millimetre model of a farming farm, but the model was not 3D, it was made from two-dimensional prints made from wood.
Professor van de Van Vries said the current crop of farmers could be one step closer to a 3rd generation farm.
“There are people that have already done it, and they’ve got their own designs, but we want to see what it is that farmers can do with it,” he said.
3rd Generation Farm The technology of 3D farming is so new that the project is in its early stages.
3DSL Farm is not the only technology being developed for the farm.
Researchers at the Royal Botanic Gardens in London are also developing a 3DSEL farm.
Professor Mavrogli said that with the technology in place, 3D printers could be a part of the food supply chain.
“You could print your own food, which would be much cheaper than the current system, but what you need to do is you need a food production system, which the 3DSels system does, so you could print food in a way that you don’t have to go and build it yourself,” Professor Mangold said.
With the potential to scale, the next step is to build what Professor Mangolds call a 3.5-tonne model farm.
That would be a 3M-scale farm that could produce 100 tonnes of food per day.
“That’s not something that we’ve got a lot of space for in this farm, so we need to start thinking about a lot more than a 3m