Precision rain gauge tests the waters

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Affordability was key for the developers of this rain gauge and water tank monitor produced by two Australian companies.

Precision rain gauge tests the waters
One of a series of Goanna Ag rain gauges released on Australian farms as part of a trial.

 

A rain gauge and water tank device that remotely monitors levels of water availability on farms is set to start commercial sales in October, Adelaide-based co-developer Myriota says.

The sensors, developed by remote sensing solutions company Goanna Ag, will use Myriota’s direct-to-orbit satellite network to provide data about rainfall and tank levels to farmers in real time, a move the companies say will make on-farm water use more efficient.


Goanna Ag received a $3.35 million grant in growth funding last year to advance their on-farm sensor technology. Check out our story here 


While remote monitoring is a more efficient way of checking rainfall on farms than travelling to check levels in person, the companies say that complexity of the data received, less-than-robust sensors and a lack of field support has prevented its widespread adoption.

Goanna Ag chief operating officer Tom Dowling says the high cost of hardware and communications has also been a hurdle.

"Our clients know the value that comes from remote monitoring, but until now, the industry has been restricted by coverage and cost issues," Dowling says.

"We have been working toward a solution like this for over a decade, and thanks to our partnership with Myriota, have developed a game changing solution that will drive on farm efficiencies – particularly around water management and optimisation."

Myriota business development executive Tom Rayner says the companies have created a solution that is "ideally suited to agriculture".

"With ground based communications requiring capital and geographical prioritisation, there will be ‘black spots’ where data is lost, but through this collaboration with Goanna Ag, we have been able to overcome these challenges of cost and connectivity," he says.

GoannaAg will release the rain gauge and tank monitoring devices for sale in October, with pricing and distribution details currently being finalised.

In an announcement, the companies say the units will include three years of connectivity, data management and app access in "a more affordable solution than other alternatives".

Future iterations of the rain gauges will see Goanna Ag integrate smart functionality, including point specific weather forecasting generated by the Bureau of Meteorology, aggregated and granular rainfall mapping, and an initial on-the-go yield forecaster for dryland cropping.

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