Victorian farmers encouraged to adopt IoT technologies

The Victorian government is supporting farmers to invest in Internet of Things (IoT) technology, boosting advanced manufacturing enterprises with applications in the agricultural sector.

Horticulture, dairy, sheep and grains farmers are encouraged to be involved in the current trial, which is funded through a $12 million program.

According to a statement on the program from the Premier’s office, the potential increase in value to Australia’s agricultural sector through the adoption of digital technologies is estimated at $20.3 billion. The connection of appliances to the internet is central to this expansion of value.

Examples of “smart” agricultural technology could include data gained from sensors on devices including soil moisture probes, weather stations and storage facilities.

With Australian manufacturers already producing the component devices that lead to IoT ecosystems, close collaborations with the agricultural sector has the potential to put Australian manufacturers at the forefront of global innovation in “smart” technology. Minister for Agriculture, Jaclyn Symes noted that this grant will allow farmers to take the next step.

“Our IoT trial is an ambitious program supporting Victorian farmers to be at the forefront of modern agriculture, to improve farm productivity, efficiency and safety,” said Symes.

The grants program run by the Victorian government will give farmers up to $30,000 to acquire IoT technology from a government-created catalogue.

Farmers will be supported in acquiring this hardware by four technology coordinators.

The program is designed to allow farmers to take a low-risk approach to the adoption of IoT technology. Devices that could be used on farms are able to be trialled to see if productivity and efficiency gains can be found.

The grants will be distributed to four regions; dairy in Maffra, grains in Birchip, sheep in Serpentine, and horticulture in Tatura.

According to Symes, there is great potential for IoT on agricultural properties.

“We’ve been working with Victorian farmers to understand how digital technology can revolutionise their businesses – and we’re excited to invite farmers to trial new IoT tech on their own farms,” said Symes.