The Australian state of Victoria will help farmers establish network connectivity on their farms. The first step is a trial that will allow thousands of sensors to be connected to the internet. Farmers will get access to real-time data to improve their productivity, efficiency and sustainability.
Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes of Victoria said that the state government will work with network provider NNNCo and state agency Agriculture Victoria to provide network connectivity to trial sites in the regions of Maffra, Tatura, Serpentine and Birchip.
On-farm Internet of Things (IoT) trial
The delivery of network connectivity is part of the government’s ongoing On-farm Internet of Things (IoT) trial – addressing key barriers that farmers have identified to investing in technology. A big issue for farmers is the lack of access to reliable network coverage.
“We’re excited to work with NNNCo to roll this exciting technology out to keep our farmers connected and help them work smarter – not harder”, said Agriculture Minister Symes. “Our Internet of Things trial has the potential to revolutionise farm businesses, putting Victorian farmers at the forefront of agricultural innovation.”
CEO Robert Zagarella of NNNCo said that NNNCo’s network and data platform roll-out is a commitment to every farmer in the trial regions to provide the coverage they need to better manage and run their operations.
“Farmers now have a broad choice of devices and applications from the growing global IoT ecosystem, including irrigation management and control, and real-time monitoring of soil health, rainfall, cattle movement, farm assets, worker safety, and water tank levels so that they can proactively respond to the needs of the farm”, Mr Zagarella emphasised.
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The trial wil focus on different sectors of agriculture. - Photo: Agriculture Victoria
The network also has the potential to support the wider community, providing improved connectivity so everyone in the trial regions can benefit from Victoria’s growing digital economy. The trial is part of the Victorian Government’s AUS $ 45 million Connecting Victoria initiative to improve digital technology and infrastructure across regional Victoria.
600 farms to trial on-farm IoT technology
Through the On-Farm IoT Trial, Agriculture Victoria partners up with 600 farms to trial on-farm IoT technology and evaluate the impact these technologies can have on farm performance. Under the trial, Agriculture Victoria is supporting the delivery of IoT connectivity to the trial regions and partnering with participating farmers to test the impact of IoT on Victorian farms.
The trial is taking place across four farm types and regions. Network connectivity for the trial is expected to cover the local government areas of Wellington for dairy, Buloke for grains, Loddon for sheep, and Greater Shepparton and parts of Moira (Cobram and surrounds) for horticulture.
Industry Technology Coordinators with expertise in farm management and digital technology will support farmers participating in the trial. This will help farmers to select IoT solutions to test that are matched to their on-farm needs.
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Australian farms can improve their productivity when they get access to real-time data via the IoT. - Photo: René Groeneveld
Agriculture Victoria will contribute to the cost of purchasing IoT apps and devices for farmers taking part in the trial. The agency will partner with participating farmers to test the benefits of IoT for their farm business. The impact of IoT on farm performance will be assessed with the aim to provide the agriculture sector with a clear rationale for investment in IoT.
Trial to run for two years
The trial will run for two years and support the adoption of IoT on hundreds of farms across the four farm types and trial regions. The On-Farm IoT Trial is supporting IoT network connectivity to the trial regions for that two-year period. Beyond the trial period, NNNCo will determine what ongoing network coverage it will offer.