Smart Farming: leveraging the impact of broadband and the digital economy

CSIRO - University of New England

Type: PDF
Knowledge level: Introductory

Farm Table says:

Informative report on smart farming and how broadband access in regional areas has made smart farming more accessible. This report also includes a UNE and CSIRO trial site in Armidale where a 'smart farm' was set up to realise the benefits of this accessibility and technology - a great read.

This informative report on smart farming discusses the impact of broadband in rural Australia and provides an article on a trial ‘smart farm’ to discover some of the technologies that can be utilised by producers and how effective they can be.

Key points were as follows:

  • This report on smart farming was developed shortly after Armidale received Broadband internet so it could demonstrate how smart farming could be effectively utilised.
  • The agribusiness sector makes up for about 12% of total gross domestic product in Australia.
  • The adoption of agricultural technology has never been a huge success however with increasing technology over the past decade; a lot of farmers now use the internet to source information such as market reports, weather and social media.
  • The national broadband rollout should improve the accessibility for a lot of rural and regional townships that currently have limited internet access.
  • With improved internet service to regional areas, comes improved technology that can be utilised by producers. Some of these technologies include:
  1. Cloud computing technology
  2. Sensor technology
  3. Internet of Things
  4. Smart personal devices
  5. Wireless technology
  6. Video monitoring services
  • The ‘Kirby Smart Farm’ was set up by CSIRO and UNE through this study to demonstrate a ‘smart farm’. The concept of the Smart Farm was that digital services will allow farmers to deploy resources more efficiently, remotely monitor everything from soil moisture levels, stock movements and farm security, as well as easily and instantly communicate with experts on everything from a broken tractor to commodity prices.”
  • Other CSIRO smart farming initiatives include:
  1. “Queensland Digital Homestead project”
  2. “Tasmanian Sense-T program”
  • Drivers for change include:
  1. Vertical supply chains
  2. Shift by agricultural suppliers
  3. Biosecurity
  4. Open data policies
  5. Biomass and Carbon
  6. Consumer demand
  7. Cost
  8. Availability
  9. Increased use of digital services
  • Some of the barrier to adoption of this technology includes:
  1. Understand the cost-benefit
  2. Connectivity
  3. User acceptance of technology
  4. Immaturity of agricultural applications
  • The on-farm benefits include:
  1. Effective soil monitoring
  2. Livestock health and welfare
  3. Livestock reproduction
  4. Livestock growth monitoring
2013 - Australia - CSIRO - University of New England
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