Irish farming is in danger of being left behind its European counterparts because of poor or non-existent high-speed broadband, contractors have warned.
Tom Murphy from the Professional Agricultural Contractors of Ireland (PAC) said smart farming will form part of the future of agriculture.
"If we don't have the broadband then talking about smart farming is just a joke. We must have broadband as otherwise we can't transmit the information back from the field. Agriculture is the biggest business by far in rural Ireland and it needs high-speed broadband and without it Irish farming will be left behind.
"If farmers and contractors don't embrace smart farming then they'll be left behind. It isn't Star Wars anymore, it is reality, they are doing it on the continent and the UK and we are only scratching the surface here," said Mr Murphy ahead of the PAC Smart Farming event at the Newpark Hotel Kilkenny on February 2.
The event will be addressed by Commissioner Phil Hogan and Communications Minister Denis Naughten on the rollout of high-speed broadband, and many international machinery experts.
Mr Murphy said many farmers would not be in a financial position to invest in the hi-tech equipment and it was likely they would turn to contractors for it.
He pointed out some farmers were already turning to hi-tech spraying and slurry-spreading technology to help cut costs by only spreading fertiliser where necessary.