Vic farmers urged to embrace technology

By: Randall Johnston

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University of New England’s SMART Farm project coordinator David Lamb thinks Australian farmers should be making the most of the latest farming technology. University of New England’s SMART Farm project coordinator David Lamb thinks Australian farmers should be making the most of the latest farming technology. University of New England’s SMART Farm project coordinator David Lamb thinks Australian farmers should be making the most of the latest farming technology.

One of Australia’s leading precision agriculture experts called on Victoria’s farmers to embrace the latest on-farm technology at the 2016 AgriVictoria State of Opportunity Summit in Melbourne last week.



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The University of New England’s Sustainable Manageable Accessible Rural Technologies (SMART) Farm project coordinator David Lamb says farmers need to make the most of new and emerging technology on the land.

"There are simple technologies available to make farming easier from assessing pastures and monitoring water trough levels to supply chain management," Lamb says.

"But I’m concerned these tools get lost in the noise around blue-sky technologies and big data.

"We need farm technology to be sustainable, manageable, practical and readily accessible."

Lamb highlighted his expertise in smart farming practices by demonstrating g a number of GPS based livestock tracking apps for sheep and cattle farmers, as well as soil health monitoring that can be done using your mobile phone.

The University of New England has transformed a 2,900ha commercial grazing farm, located 10km outside of Armidale in regional New South Wales, into a national demonstrator site for new technology.

SMART Farm tests new technologies and provides access to the latest data streaming from a range of field, animal and machinery sensors on site.

Lamb and his team have done a lot of work with the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and the NSW Government, and have teamed up with a number of other universities around Australia.

Recent projects include developing apps for mobile devices for farmers to monitor and manage pasture biomass, and ‘virtual fencing’ for flexible, real-time control of livestock distribution by transmitting radio frequencies to keep animals within boundaries. 

 

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