Horsham’s $3.6 million digitally-advanced grain farm

Published: 20 Oct 2021

Man holding graph standing in front of a grassy field and transparent iconography floating over the sceneBy using sensors to test soil moisture, weather, water troughs and vehicle movement, a new 1070-hectare demonstration DATA Farm is revolutionising Victoria’s farming practices, spurred along by a $2.5 million Victorian Government investment.

It’s an exciting time for the Victorian grains industry.

The DATA Farm in the Wimmera Southern Mallee is bringing together the latest technologies and machinery to showcase the future of agriculture to students, farmers and the agronomists.

DATA Farm – developed jointly by the Wimmera Development Association, Longerenong College, Skillinvest Ltd, Birchip Cropping Group and Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water – is an ambitious new venture for Longerenong College and the Australian grains industry.

Data to improve cropping

On the farm, more than 30 projects, with over 200 devices and 500 sensors capturing more than 30,000 data points each day, are enhancing understanding of the cropping system.

Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership Chair David Jochinke said: “The Partnership is thrilled that the Victorian Government has funded the AgTIDE DATA Farm Project. It’s about applying agriculture technology in a real-life environment.”

Along with helping students gain the skills needed to work in a modern farming world, it will give local growers access to the relevant technological tools they need to succeed over the long term.

DATA Farm encourages farmers, students and industry to engage with digital agriculture to enhance on-farm decision-making to ensure farming processes are as efficient and profitable as possible.

Visitors welcome

Visitors to DATA Farm can view live data and insights in a purpose-built space.

The farm also has audio visual equipment showing live data from the digital agriculture devices across the site.

A range of digital sensors, sensor nodes and devices are also displayed to show how data is collected out in the field.

In this way, the Innovation Centre is an interactive, sensory experience.

Industry spotlight

Farmers can visit the DATA Farm Innovation Centre to survey the latest technologies in digital agriculture operating in a commercial farm environment.

They can assess how digital agriculture technologies can be integrated into their business to improve practices and support sustainable management decisions, at no cost.

Likewise, agriculture industry professionals can use DATA Farm to upskill in new technologies and discover how making the most of digital agriculture will benefit their clients or business.

Researchers can also visit DATA Farm for a glimpse into the future of farming.

Students at the forefront

Integrated into the curriculum of all courses offered at Longerenong College, DATA Farm will prepare students for the digitalised future of agriculture.

As farms increasingly integrate smart technologies, the insights into these technologies will serve students for years to come.

The farm ensures students graduate with experience in the latest farming technology, providing them with a competitive advantage in the job market.

Whether students are striving towards a digital agriculture career or looking to gain new skills to take home to support their family farm, the DATA Farm will equip them with the essentials.

The three key areas that students will study through this project are the environment, including rainfall, humidity and UV radiation; machinery, including drones, air seeders and harvesters; and operations, including tank levels, hay storage and fence monitoring.

You might think of it as future-proofing our next generation of agriculture students.

Page last updated 24 Jun 2022
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