Smart farming technology trial

Article image - Smart farming technology trial Mayor Stephanie Asher with first year students from Marcus Oldham Farm Management College, Oscar Phillips and Claire Koch.

City of Greater Geelong’s Internet of Things (IoT) network is helping a clever technology trial take place in the paddocks at Marcus Oldham Farm Management College, Victoria.

In-ground sensors are being used to monitor soil moisture and temperature in wheat trials, to assist with making decisions about crop nutrition, protection and yield.

The College has been investigating smart farming practices for some time and recently attended the City’s IoT Kickstarter as part of Geelong Design Week 2021.

Utilising the City’s IoT network, which provides coverage to 90 percent of the city and is open to anyone, they receive sensor data through a WiFi-like connection.

This allows the college to draw information into a platform for analysis in near-real-time and means they can gather intelligence without stepping foot in a field. It also enables the layering of other datasets like rainfall, for even deeper insight.

City of Greater Geelong Mayor, Stephanie Asher said it was great that the City was able to provide the extra support the College needed to begin the trial, through the Geelong Design Week event.

“It’s fantastic to see this group engaging with our Smart City work and utilising the technology we have on offer to make a difference in the community and to our environment.

Councillor Peter Murrihy, “This type of project is exactly what the Internet of Things, and our whole Smart City Framework, is about – delivering practical and innovative solutions to real life situations.”

Andrew Etherton, Agronomy Lecturer at the College, said innovations in agtech were allowing for a more precise, productive and resource-efficient approach.

“It’s no longer just about planting the right crop, in the right location, at the right time, we now have real data backing up these decisions.

“After an episode of extreme heat or frost, we have the immediate insight to know how this might affect yield potential and in turn likely income, without the guesswork.”

Data-driven precision farming allows agricultural practises to be more controlled, accurate and sustainable.