Group heads named for Vic digital trial

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Four farmers will lead the site reference group for an $12 billion trial of digital agricultural technologies

Group heads named for Vic digital trial
The trial will consider the application of IOT devices in sheep farming, dairy, horticulture and broadacre cropping. Image courtesy PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images


Victoria’s government has named the farmers who will lead its $12 million on-farm Internet of Things (IOT) trial in the lead-up to the state election in November.

The trial is part of a $27 million commitment made earlier in the year to help farmers adopt digital technologies and is part of the government’s Digital Agriculture Strategy, launched by agriculture minister Jaala Pulford this week.

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Under the two-year trial, Agriculture Victoria will work with participating farmers to select IOT solutions to use on farms in Maffra, Serpentine, Birchip and Tatura – delivering network connectivity to the properties and measuring the impact of the technology on farm performance and profitability.

By removing the barriers of connectivity and access to funds, the trial is designed to help farmers see the on-farm benefits of digital technologies specific to their industry and by doing so, promote greater uptake of technology and competition across the sector.

The government will also look at the results of the study to determine the best use of an extra $15 million allocated to support the uptake of digital technologies across industry.

The government established a Site Reference Group for each of the four trial regions to help inform the trial rollout, with Bree Whittaker to lead the dairy-focused group in Maffra and Will Hooke leading the sheep-focused trials in Serpentine.

Mitchell McNab will lead the reference group for the Tatura trials, which will focus on fruit, nuts and berry production, while Linc Lehmann will lead the broadacre cropping-focused group in Birchip.

Ms Pulford said she hoped the reference group leaders would provide an industry voice to help ensure the trail would meet the needs of farmers.

"We’re supporting and leading research in agricultural technologies, helping reduce barriers to widespread technology adoption on-farm, and building the digital capability in our sector," she says.

"Our farmers are world-class, highly skilled and innovative – we look forward to working with you every step of the way to harness the power of digital adoption."

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