Victoria’s farmers have been given a digital boost with the Andrews Labor Government today announcing
$15 million to enhance agricultural technology on farm.
Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford made the announcement at the inaugural AgTech Summit in Melbourne, which will be a game-changer for Victoria’s $13 billion industry.
The Labor Government is ensuring Victoria is a world leader in digital agriculture and will consult with industry on the delivery of the package.
The funding can be used for a range of digital innovations including the implementation of robotics on farm, wireless technology, biotechnology adoption and virtual fencing.
It brings the Labor Government’s total investment in digital agriculture to $27 million, following $12 million for the Internet of Things (IoT) on farm demonstration trial in the Victorian Budget 2016/17.
The trial will begin in the regions surrounding Maffra, Birchip, Serpentine and Tatura from 1 July. IoT networks will be installed for farmer and public access, and benefits will be seen specifically in the dairy, grains, sheep and horticulture sectors.
Hundreds of farms will install sensors and devices to monitor, and in some cases control, farm operations. Data generated from the sensors and devices will be uploaded through nodes, gateways and servers for analysis and loading onto a software program that helps farmers make more informed decisions in real time.
Agtech has the capacity to revolutionise farming – improving productivity, sustainability and profitability on farm and down the value chain. The trial will help realise these opportunities by reducing adoption barriers relating to lack of connectivity, skills and capital.
The Labor Government knows the value and importance of investing in our digital economy, and was the first government in Australia to support the SproutX initiative, Australia’s largest and leading AgTech innovation hub, investing $1 million in 2016 – which opened its doors for the first time in Mildura just last month.
The Government is also ensuring our regional communities are digitally connected with the $45 million Connecting Regional Communities Program, which increases digital connectivity and useability in regional areas.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford
“Victoria is the AgTech hub of Australia, and with this investment we are looking at being a world-leader.”
“Our farmers deserve the very best tools to get the job done and digital innovation is at the heart of this – we’re proud to play our part in making this a reality.”
“This Internet of Things Demonstration Trial is an important step in maximising technology to help provide Victorian agriculture with a competitive advantage on a global scale.”