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Digital Agriculture Research Station to Boost Australian Farms

Australia Digital Agriculture Research Station
Photo Credit: CSIRO

Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), recently opened a digitally-enabled farm in southwestern NSW.

Digital Agriculture Research Station

  • According to a recent press release, Boorowa Agriculture Research Station will provide scientists unprecedented accuracy in studying crops and farming systems through drones, remote monitoring and advanced data analytics.
  • The digitally-enabled farm is equipped with 100 temperature and humidity probes, 72 soil moisture probes, and six weather stations.
  • The equipment will monitor experiments in crop science, agronomy and farming systems across its 290 hectares.
  • The research station took four years to design and to build. It is an AU$ 11.5 million investment in the future of Australian farming.
  • The Director of CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Dr Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, had shared that it was more important than ever to advance innovative science to build resilient agriculture systems and increase food production.

Benefits of the Digital Farm

  • The agriculture industries are facing major challenges, particularly with the current drought.
  • At Boorowa, they will be trialling new varieties of wheat, canola, legumes and pasture, which can withstand warmer and drier conditions, such as those predicted for the future.
  • In addition, they will also continue to research the best farming practices in order to manage the fragile soils and get the most from every drop of water.
  • The more they are able to understand how plants grow and produce in a real farming environment, and not merely in a lab, would allow them to help Australian agriculture more in meeting its AU$ 100 billion targets.

Background

The new research station replaces CSIRO’s Ginninderra Experimental Station, which was established just outside Canberra in 1958.

Ginninderra served as the location where they field-tested a range of high yielding and disease-resistant wheat varieties such as Lawson, Paterson, Gordon, Tennant, Brennan and Dennis.

It was also where they refined their high-fibre BARLEYmax and ultra-low gluten Kebari® barley.

It is exciting to imagine what can be achieved by having this new state-of-the-art facility at Boorowa.

The research station was developed with support from the Grains Research and Development Corporation and the Science and Industry Endowment Fund.

Australia is truly giving importance to its agriculture sector and how farms can be future-proofed.

OpenGov Asia recently reported on South Australia boosts farming with AgTech demonstration farms.

The farms will cover digital agriculture and data insights to improve productivity and strengthen businesses.

The Digital Farm, which is an AgTech demonstration site, will allow farmers to experience AgTech solutions in a real-world context from monitoring stock and crops to on-farm connectivity.

Once the farms are developed, primary producers will be able to experience relevant AgTech and latest animal genetics and pasture varieties, as well as modern-day water utilisation, disease management and grazing strategies.

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