IMPROVING THE EFFICIENCY OF YOUR FARM
These projects have been developed in response to common challenges faced by farmers. In many cases, the data collected at Longy can help improve decision making or reinforce the intuitive decisions that farmers make every day. The sensors all over the DATA Farm collect data in response to farmers’ everyday needs and provide detailed insights for planning, strategy and study. Whether it be monitoring weather variables, understanding soil moisture levels or finding peace of mind through remotely checking the status of gates, the DATA Farm showcases relevant and practical digital solutions.
Cameras are an alternative for remote sensors for situations where a visual is required. Camera solutions on the DATA farm will include crop time-lapse, sky-facing weather monitoring, security cameras and livestreams of machinery.
Drone Image Integration
Multispectral imaging and other data from the DATA farm drones will produce high-resolution analysis layers of crop health. This will provide a level of detail beyond what satellites can deliver and this data will become part of the integrated hyperlayer of information, driving decisions in many aspects of cropping.
Equipment and Worker ID System (Asset tracking)
Excelling at logistics is a key part of driving financial performance in agriculture, which is why the DATA Farm has adopted an equipment and worker ID system to match workers with the equipment they’re using. Tracking asset activity and asset location will help streamline logistics during peak periods.
Fence and Gate Monitoring
Secure fences and gates are vital for stock management, biosecurity and also farm security. The fence and gate monitoring system will provide remote alerts for boundary gates being opened and for power loss on electric fencing, helping rectify problems before they escalate.
Frost Response (Fenceline sensor string)
Chains of temperature sensors deployed in paddocks will alert farmers to the presence and location of frost. These sensor chains may also help indicate where the line of damage might occur during a frost, essentially helping divide the crop into distinct management zones.
Hay Fire Prevention Sensors
Hay storage sensors are deployed in the Longy College haysheds using Bluetooth hub and spoke technology for early detection of the possibility of a haystack fire. This is achieved through a network of low-cost temperature, humidity and volatile organic compound (VOC) sensors spread throughout the storage area to detect high risk conditions.
Hyperlayer integration is one of the most important aspects of the DATA Farm. The hyperlayer is a software decision making platform combining data from yield maps, drone maps, satellite imagery, weather and soil data into one central location.
This software performs a multi-layer analysis of crop limiting factors, not only at a paddock level but also within zones of a paddock. The hyperlayer brings all of the data together to become the ultimate decision-making tool, empowering farmers to make extremely educated agricultural choices.
If This Then That (IFTTT)
IFTTT platform integration facilitates automatic control of simple devices when measurements from sensors exceed certain parameters. This technology can remotely enable or disable devices, solving simple problems like an empty water trough without any manual effort or human intervention.
The IFTTT system also integrates with social media, providing a great opportunity to give the DATA Farm an online ‘personality’ to engage followers with farm activity.
Irrigation Monitoring (Tracking and Pressure)
Sensors indicate the pressure, orientation and location of irrigation equipment. Measuring pressure at the end of the irrigator can detect if a pressure drop has occurred somewhere in the system, while measuring orientation and location can validate movement without a time-consuming physical check.
Prolonged leaf wetness is linked to a number of plant diseases that impact yield. Polymer sensors will send an alert when there are prolonged periods of wetness in crops, raising the alarm for disease risk.
This data can then be fed into algorithms for different crop types to assess the probability of disease occurring and prompting immediate decisions around disease control actions.
Machinery Image System (equipment-based imaging)
Machinery including the boom spray and header have a front row seat to the performance of a crop many times during its life cycle. Machinery mounted sensors and imaging equipment will be used to investigate the possibilities of collecting multispectral and high-resolution data with every pass.
This data may then be used by remote agronomists or put through AI algorithms to identify issues for farmers.
Mobile Baling Sensor
Mobile temperature sensors will provide readings in the paddock to inform farmers in real time about conditions for baling hay.
These sensors target temperature and humidity and allow the farmer to be alerted for favourable baling conditions.
Crop damage from rodent activity is a significant challenge in the Horsham region, so Longy is trialling an in-paddock laser system to monitor mouse numbers.
The amount of mouse activity will be remotely measured through a long-range laser beam break system targeting early detection with ongoing alerts for post-baiting activity.
Remote monitoring of pump pressure gives an early warning of water delivery issues for stock or irrigation, without the need for frequent time-consuming physical checks.
Rainfall Interpolation Network
A network of 30 rain buckets measure rainfall variability across the entire DATA Farm. This high-resolution rainfall data gives a very accurate approximation of rain at any point on the farm.
This network will provide insights into rainfall across the property that could be a significant factor in production. This fine-tuned data will also form a valuable part of the DATA Farm’s integrated hyperlayer of data sets.
Safe Work Australia has identified quad bike roll events as a major killer on Australian properties each year. The distance and isolation present in rural environments mean that there can also be a significant delay in getting help when a vehicle rolls.
Inclinometers on the Longy College quad bikes and side-by side vehicles reduce this danger by alerting that farm vehicles have rolled and the integrated GPS helps locate the incident, as well as monitoring driver behaviour.
Soil Moisture and Temperature Probes
Soil moisture probes have been placed in each paddock on the Longerenong College farm to measure plant available moisture at different levels in the soil profile.
These probes will provide comparative data from different areas of the farm and inform decision making around fertiliser application and paddock management strategies.
Solar and UV Radiation Sensors
Solar and UV radiation sensors provide data to use as a reference point for growing season length. This data can be fed into yield prediction models and may be used to influence future seeding rates and row spacing.
Spray Water Quality Sensors
Spray water quality sensors make sure spray water in storage meets acceptable quality parameters, avoiding the detrimental impacts on spray effectiveness caused by low quality water.
These sensors will measure pH, electrical conductivity, hardness, total dissolved solids and temperature, producing alerts for unfavourable results.
Tank Level Monitoring
Ultrasonic and pressure sensors allow remote monitoring of water storage levels giving farmers peace of mind when it comes to basic water management. Alerts from this data when there are issues will enable quicker responses. Monitoring tanks remotely also increases safety on the farm and saves valuable time.
Temperature Inversion Sensor Tower
Two 15 metre sensor towers detect the presence of low-level temperature inversion conditions on the DATA Farm. Spraying in inversion conditions is responsible for much of the off-target spray drift from chemical application.
The sensor tower will give alerts for these unfavourable spray conditions and will include Delta T readings to further educate decisions around spraying.
Trough Level Monitoring
As with remote water tank monitoring, receiving alerts on low or high stock trough levels allows for a speedy response to problems and less time spent checking troughs.
Vehicle Detection for site security
Farm security can be a pressing issue, especially for farmers in close proximity to a town or with unattended or remote properties.
The vehicle detection system will give real time alerts for the presence of unexpected activity at entry points which can be integrated with cameras and may also assist with insurance claims in the event of theft.
The DATA Farm has a variety of weather stations installed in a network across the farm to produce accurate weather readings. This weather station network will allow precise reading of weather patterns with the ability to view the data remotely.