Grain growers in the Wimmera Mallee are set to benefit from the Andrews Labor Government’s $60,000 investment towards the Birchip Cropping Group’s new precision agriculture technology that will increase productivity and profitability.
Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford made the announcement on a mixed farming enterprise in Murra Warra today.
The grant has been provided through the Labor Government’s $20 million Food Source Victoria program, which supports food producers and businesses working together to grow exports and create new jobs.
Birchip Cropping Group will deliver the $90,000 project as part of their efforts to empower grain growers to better utilise digital technologies and analytics that are transforming the agricultural industry.
Digital tools and farm services known as precision agriculture include variable rate spraying, fertiliser application and high tech weather stations linked to water supply services.
These tools have the potential to help farmers make more informed decisions, manage land remotely, value-add products and run more efficient businesses.
Less than 25 per cent of arable farmland in Australia is currently managed using Precision Agriculture technologies.
The project is set to increase the understanding of data management and the uptake of Precision Agricultural technologies through three components:
- Identifying the potential for more farmers to use Precision Agriculture and grow their businesses
- The development of a working model to demonstrate how ‘farm data’ can benefit growers
- Specialist workshops involving a pilot group of farmers to identify the benefits and challenges around farm data management.
The project has the potential to be implemented across the Wimmera Mallee region, which would in turn benefit grain growers and associated businesses by adding value of up to $125 per hectare, growing exports to premium markets in Japan and China, and create new jobs.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford
“This time last year we were standing in the Wimmera looking down the barrel at drought. This year is a different story – we have a bumper crop and positive outlook for our grain growers.”
“Farmers know that there’s been a big drop in rainfall and that the next dry spell might not be far away and that’s why we’re working with BCG to help more farmers use new technology and better adapt to a variable climate.”
“Farmers in this region are achieving results their grandfathers could have only dreamt of. We support them with research and development in times of drought and we share their success in the good times.”