Satellite deal boosts Goanna Ag gauge connectivity

By: Anthony Wingard

Presented by

Better connected smart rain gauges and water tank monitors developed by Australian ag tech companies Goanna Ag and Myriota will help Aussie farmers better face the climate crisis, developers say.

The GoRain and GoTank products will help the pressures faced by farmers across Australia

GoRain and GoTank, two new products developed by Goanna Ag, will help circumvent the water management issues which are vital to the longevity and success of the Australian agricultural industry.

Goanna Ag chief executive, Alicia Garden, says the pair of world-first technologies has the potential to change how farmers across the country monitor their water supply and could be a key player in the future of the industry.

 "Rainfall is the fundamental driver of agricultural production, and while we can’t make it rain more, GoRain and GoTank will bring confidence to decision making for our hard-working food and fibre producers," Garden says.

"We believe that this technology will transform the Australian market and provide the information needed to support the industry in even the most challenging times."

GoRain is an automatic rain gauge that records and reports rain levels directly, giving farmers the ability to access and monitor rain data remotely, in order to better understand rain patterns across their respective farms; however it differs from previous GoRain versions.

While previous GoRain devices used alternative forms of connectivity such as NBIoT and LoRaWAN which were limited by telecommunications networks in regional Australia, the new technology employs satellites instead; capable of working anywhere across Australia.

Myriota – an Adelaide-based company which specialises in offering low-cost satellite connectivity to the Internet of Things (IoT), will provide the network of nano-satellites employed by GoRain and GoTank.

 The technology is affordable, includes three years of battery life, an inbuilt GPS system and also boasts strong cryptographic security to ensure the safety of data on the IoT. Garden labelled the new GoRain systems as a ‘game changer’ and says the ability to help understand such a fundamental ingredient of agriculture will not only help farmers develop a better yield, but will benefit the industry as a whole.

"We think the largest benefit will be provision of confidence for the farmer in understanding the variability, allowing them to make decisions on inputs and other management practices more confidently," Garden says.

The second device, GoTank, is comprised of a single monitor that can attach to any water tank, and has the potential  to monitor fuel levels as well.  

GoTank is poised to directly assist livestock farmers by keeping them updated of water tank levels and removing the need for manual checks. Together, GoRain and GoTank will provide a level of labour efficiency in the industry, largely in that they use contemporary technologies to make data more accessible, even remotely, and removing the remove the need for farmers to either travel to remote sites to check tank levels or rain gauge levels.

Myriota chief executive and co-founder Alex Grant says the technologies will help provide labour efficiency within the agricultural industry.

"By providing the agricultural industry with data about precious on-farm water assets at the click of a button, Myriota and Goanna Ag are supporting the industry to make highly strategic decisions that will ensure the survival of crops and livestock," Grant says.

"GoRain and GoTank are able to obtain on-site data from anywhere and deliver that information to the farmer via the Myriota network; removing the guesswork and providing accurate data about on-farm water levels."

The technology makes use of Goanna Ag’s standing as one of the country’s leading providers for on-farm sensor solutions and will use the existing Goanna Ag apps, available on both the Apple store (as GoApp) and Google Play story (Goanna Telemetry App) to allow farmers to monitor and assess data.

GoTank is comprised of a single monitor that can attach to any water tank

Future Planning

Both the GoRain and GoTank will feature smart functionality, with Goanna Ag aiming to incorporate functions such as specific weather forecasting, granular rainfall mapping and initial on-the-go yield forecasting for dry land cropping all available for the upcoming winter cropping season

These functions however, are still in beta-testing at varying levels of maturity at present.

Garden also describes how, in conjunction with CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology in a project dubbed Weather Together, the GoRain devices will be able to develop site specific forecasts across the country – a function which will increase congruently with the amount of devices in use.

"Last winter cropping season, we worked closely with an Agribusiness to test our yield forecast for their client back on 300 paddocks across Australia and are ecstatic with the result," Garden says.

"Obviously the more GoRain devices we have on the ground, the more of a rain ‘radar’ images we can compiler, if our user base permits usage of their data in such a fashion.

"This is probably the feature that is furthest away from commercial release."

Initially, both the GoRain and GoTank products were slated to be released back in late 2019; however Goanna Ag ran into technical challenges with the product.

The main issue lied with the battery usage, which was envisaged as a single unit for either device which a lifespan of 3.5 years without replacement and which can also be update satellite positions remotely to ensure connectivity wouldn’t wain.

All of these technical challenges, namely the battery, have been resolved, resulting in a battery able to function consistently, without manual interference, from afar.

Both GoRain and GoTank are available to purchase now through Goanna Ag’s website, or through distributors includingdistributors including Delta Agribusiness, AgnVet, Elders and Aquawest.

GoRain is set to set farmers back $900 while GoTank will cost $1150 but both will also require platform and connectivity which amount to $120 per annum from the second year onward.

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