FEATURED: Armidale Smart Farm

By: Anna Game-Lopata

Presented by

The University of New England’s David Lamb is driving a feisty campaign to get Australian farmers connected to high speed internet with the help of the Armidale Smart Farm.

FEATURED: Armidale Smart Farm
Professor David Lamb is the man behind the farm with a difference - the Armidale Smart Farm, also known as the Kirby Farm.

Pastures have improved slightly at Kirby Farm in Armidale, New South Wales, thanks to a smattering of recent rain.

The tableland region is renowned for its fine wool, fat lamb and beef cattle, and Kirby Farm reflects this mix; boasting 7,000 sheep, Hereford breeder cows and some steers generally sold to market in the region at about 300kg to 450kg.

Like any other, Kirby Farm pays its way.

Though owned by the University of New England (UNE), it isn’t heavily subsidised and is possibly the only viable university farm in the country.

Farm Manager Paul Arnott deals with the same challenges as any other farmer such as weather, pests and diseases.

But the 7,000-acre (2,832 hectares) Kirby Farm operation is one with a difference.

It is also a research station transformed by scientists and academics to demonstrate the benefits of ‘Smart’ technologies and fast broadband.

In between whistling for his cheeky kelpie Zara, who seems to have the run of the place, the man behind the ‘Armidale Smart Farm’ as Kirby Farm is also known, Professor David Lamb delivers details about the pastures using a dedicated video conferencing unit linked via internet to an expert service provider, Ashley, based "somewhere in the smoke".  

 "This kind of video conference unit, which doubles as a desktop machine is the best way to get farmers connected face-to-face," Professor Lamb says.

Essentially, the Armidale Smart Farm generates and tests technology and tools farmers can access to help them improve yield and productivity while saving time, effort and dollars.

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