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Elders and SWAN partner in maximising water efficiency

Australian agricultural company Elders has announced a partnership with SWAN Systems, a web based platform for water and nutrient management. The cooperation extends Elders’ push of technology to maximise farm efficiency.

SWAN Systems, based in Perth, has developed software that integrates with existing farm sensors, such as flow meters, soil moisture probes and weather stations. The aim is to provide accurate information about future irrigation needs, relevant to the unique characteristics of any given site.

“We can pull all the data together to help farmers make day to day decisions”, explains COO and founder Ivor Gaylard of SWAN Systems. “To optimise how much water and nutrients they use. It’s all about how to make the best of every drop of water and fertiliser that is applied, in an environmentally sustainable way.”

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SWAN can work with any kind of irrigation and crop

SWAN Systems can work with any kind of irrigation and crop. “We work with large scale agriculture and with horticulture, but also with city councils and golf courses”, says Mr Gaylard. “We leave the hardware to others. Currently we have 60 hardware makes and types that we work with. Typically we will go into an operation that already has a whole lot of hardware.”

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SWAN Systems has developed software that integrates with existing farm sensors, such as flow meters, soil moisture probes and weather stations. The aim is to provide accurate information about future irrigation needs, relevant to the unique characteristics of any given site. Photo: SWAN Systems
SWAN Systems has developed software that integrates with existing farm sensors, such as flow meters, soil moisture probes and weather stations. The aim is to provide accurate information about future irrigation needs, relevant to the unique characteristics of any given site. Photo: SWAN Systems

The company provides a platform for agronomists to do their planning, record their fertiliser use and enable their reporting. The platform will also take into account the nutrients and contaminants that are in the water. “That makes us particularly relevant for people that use recycled water”, Mr Gaylard points out.

Farmers tend to over-irrigate

According to Mr Gaylard farmers tend to over-irrigate. “Farmers will often irrigate a bit more, just in case”, he says. “A figure we have seen quite widely is that the over-irrigation often is around 30%. But is some cases farmers are not using enough water. And they are getting substandard yields. The platform also helps to manage fertiliser use better. There can be yield increases there. It offers farmers other benefits as well, like saving time and making things more efficient.”

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SWAN Systems provides a platform for agronomists to do their planning, record their fertiliser use and enable their reporting. The platform will also take into account the nutrients and contaminants that are in the water. - Photo: SWAN Systems
SWAN Systems provides a platform for agronomists to do their planning, record their fertiliser use and enable their reporting. The platform will also take into account the nutrients and contaminants that are in the water. - Photo: SWAN Systems

SWAN Systems is pleased with the new partnership, Elders being one of Australia’s oldest and most respected agriculture businesses. “We think they are a good partner for us. Hopefully it’s a mutually beneficial partnership”, Mr Gaylard says.

Leading the partnership with SWAN Systems, and its on-the-ground integration, is Elders’ horticulture agronomist Noel Jansz, an advocate for the increasingly important role ag-tech plays in farmers’ day-to-day operations.

“Adopting and embracing the latest in agricultural technology is crucial in modern farming”, Mr Jansz says. “If you‘re not basing your decisions on the best possible data, you are simply not going to fulfill your farm’s operational potential. We are thrilled to be able to partner with SWAN Systems as they consistently provide the best and most reliable data for farmers.”

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The founders of SWAN Systems: Ivor Gaylard (left), Rod Campbell (middle) and Tim Hyde (right). - Photo: SWAN Systems
The founders of SWAN Systems: Ivor Gaylard (left), Rod Campbell (middle) and Tim Hyde (right). - Photo: SWAN Systems

Maximise quality and quantity of yields

According to Mr Jansz, the partnership will be particularly beneficial for improvement when it comes to on-farm water use. “Irrigation remains one of the most underutilised tools. Gone are the days where we just throw some water on at certain times. If you‘re not analysing temperatures, evaporation and crop growth factors, you are simply not allowing yourself to maximise the quality and quantity of your yields.”

Elders agronomists will help clients understand, interpret and action the data provided by SWAN Systems. “Farmers are increasingly time-poor and often cannot afford to spend their day pouring over data”, Mr Jansz explains. “Working with Elders and SWAN should give farmers the confidence that they are not only getting access to the best quality data available, but also the support and knowhow to turn that data into profitable results.”

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