Understanding pathways of digital technology development to improve farm sustainability and resilience.





We explored potential pathways of digital technologies to improve both resilience and sustainability outcomes in grazing systems by investigating the development requirements of virtual herding technologies. We used a Lead User group familiar with virtual herding technology to examine the question “after virtual herding has been successfully adopted, what will the future look like”? This group included agribusiness, industry, corporate farm management, farmers, and science. A brainstorming approach generated ideas. A horizontal prototype was built by clustering ideas into themes of the technology itself, requirements of people, applications, and outcomes, allocated to short-, medium-, and long-term timeframes. Steps required for technology development included: production of a minimum viable product, integration of sensors, and the addition of landscape digitisation. The requirements/impacts on people identified training and awareness, development of skills and labour requirements, and the changing roles of people in the landscape as a progression of change. Applications included productivity, environmental protection, landscape development and enterprise change. A range of requirements were identified within each of these steps and categories. The development of a vision of future technology use provides insight into the complexity of developing digital technologies for sheep and beef farming applications.


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Author Biography

David Stevens, AgResearch

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How to Cite

Stevens, D., King, W. M., Meenken, E. D., & Ward, J. F. (2023). Understanding pathways of digital technology development to improve farm sustainability and resilience. Journal of New Zealand Grasslands, 85, 91–100. https://doi.org/10.33584/jnzg.2023.85.3661



Vol 85 (2023)


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