Agriculture

When farms talk to their farmers

“In the past farmers depended on water, weather and the quality of stock or crops. Now and in the future they will need timely and accurate data. For that they need connectivity across their farm that is reliable and affordable ”

Margaret Wright,
Head of Strategy, Risk and People,
NNNCo

The Business Need

Farming in Australia is a tough business with unpredictable seasons, pressure on prices, loss of water quality, pests and disease and the loss of bee populations. Throughout Australia there have been a number of attempts to introduce smart agriculture practices, however past initiatives have left a fragmented picture. Connectivity is critical to enable smart sensors to connect to provide timely information about soils, crops and animals so that farmers can take the right steps at the right time to extract the best from their holdings. Yet for farmers already under cost and other pressures, it can seem too hard and too expensive.

The Solution

LoRaWAN technology provides the crucial connectivity solution. It is already used in a number of farms across Europe and has proven to be low cost and effective. LoRaWAN-enabled sensors are available at a relatively low cost and a LoRaWAN on-farm gateway can cover large areas and connect to thousands of sensors at an affordable upfront cost. Sensors are battery powered and can operate for many years without being disturbed, giving a long and low cost maintenance life. Starting with a simple farm monitoring system, a farmer can build capability over time.

Farmers need a simple in-farm solution that enables them to monitor their soils and crops and see what is happening with their fixed and moving assets. The solution must come at a reasonable cost, both upfront and ongoing.

The Tech Story

  • Affordable infrastructure (including LoRaWAN gateways with coverage of multiple kilometres) mean a low cost per hectare end to end service can be offered.
  • Battery life of 15+ years for sensors means the solution can be set and forget.
  • Relatively low cost to purchase off the shelf standards based devices that are pre-certified to operate over the network, making this a simple and cost-effective investment.
  • Data is accessible to the farmer – they can use their own data and decide whom they want to share it with.

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