Automation is becoming increasingly important in agriculture as costs of technology come down and sensor technology and machine-to-machine communications enable automation of processes across across operations including livestock management, irrigation control, harvesting, sorting, quality assurance and consignment. Just as in every sector of industry, strong return on investment depends on high-quality work flow analysis, system design and implementation. Depending on the application, a collabarative approach with value chain partners may be essential to achieve value from the technology. For example, the on-farm benefits of livestock tagging sytems and associated data management solutions may not be alone sufficient to warrant investment but can be derived further down the value chain, for example by enabling advanced quality assurance and marketing that involves animal specific traceability to source. Establishing practical business models for sharing the costs of such technology is a critical element of innovation in this field.