From livestock to horticulture, sensor technology holds promising value for a range of operational, traceability and compliance related needs on farm, as outlined in the 2018 Agrifutures Australia report “Emerging technologies in agriculture: Regulatory & other challenges”.
Here are five ways sensor technology can be used in Australian agriculture:
1. Crop monitoring
Sensor technology allows farmers to retrieve information about different parts of their enterprise, which can cover large areas of land.
Remote sensors or those attached to devices such as satellites and drones allow farmers to gain real time data regarding crop conditions, crop development and yield (ACIL Allen Consulting, 2018).
Collecting this data over long periods of time allows producers to benchmark and evaluate changes in performance over time.
Large historic datasets then allow for forecasting and modelling, enhancing the visibility farmers have over their enterprise.
This can help to inform key management decisions and investments.
2. Monitoring milk supply
Sensor technology has huge potential for dairy farms, particularly in monitoring animal health and milk supply.
This is important for dairy producers as robust and timely insights lead to more informed decision making.
Sensors can be used in milk sheds, ear tags and microchips to monitor the milk supply of individual cows (ACIL Allen Consulting, 2018).
The combination of sensors and sensor data related to temperature, milk production and more can help with evaluation of animal health (ACIL Allen Consulting, 2018).
3. Climate control in greenhouses
Sensors are an extremely useful technology for the horticultural industry.
They allow for monitoring of key climate related conditions in green houses, including temperature and humidity (ACIL Allen Consulting, 2018).
Combining sensors in automated climate control systems allows for optimised growing conditions for fruit and vegetable species (ACIL Allen Consulting, 2018).
This allows for tighter control over production and hence, optimised yield.
Product traceability plays a huge role in food safety and biosecurity management in agriculture.
In the livestock industry, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags allows for monitoring and tracking of individual animals from birth to slaughter (ACIL Allen Consulting, 2018).
Knowing where animals have moved to and where meat has come from allows for rapid product recalls, quarantining of animals and faster identification of the source of biosecurity threats.
Hence, this technology can assist with the mitigation and prevention of a pest or disease outbreaks.
With Australian agriculture facing some of the toughest drought conditions in the world, precise monitoring and control of water use on farm is critical to minimise waste and maximise farm output.
Irrigation sensors allow for accurate application of water to crops, allowing for financial savings and precision application to achieve maximum yield.
They can help avoid water logging of crops and can even be used by third parties on farm to verify environmental regulation compliance (ACIL Allen Consulting, 2018).
How many Australian farmers are using sensor related technology?
When thinking about technology in agriculture numerous questions arise in relation to adoption rates, especially in Australia.
You might be wondering:
- How many Australian farmers are using sensor-based technology?
- What do Australian farmers actually think of sensors?
- Do Australian farmers see value in sensor technology?
At KG2, we specialise in providing qualitative and quantitative market research services within Australian Agriculture.
We leverage the extensive KG2 farmer database in order to survey farmers from a range of industries.
Read the full Agrifutures Australia report here.
ACIL Allen Consulting. (2018). Emerging technologies in agriculture: Regulatory & other challenges. Agrifutures Australia. Retrieved from www.agrifutures.com.au