Agriculture

Forest and Wood ProductsViticulturePotato StoragePasture Productivity
Water ManagementIrrigation GatewaySensor-smart IrrigationBloomAlert

Forest and Wood Products

Forest and Wood ProductsUsing sensors and real-time data to monitor timber boards as they're air dried in timber yards, Tasmanian hardwood producers are reducing waste and improving efficiency. The Project is on track to deliver an estimated $15 million per annum boost to the $100 million industry.

A $408 000 University of Tasmania collaboration between the School of Architecture and Design's Centre for Sustainable Architecture with Wood, and the School of Engineering and ICT's eLogistics Group. This Project is improving the recovery, quality and value of sawn hardwoods by using sensors and real-time data to monitor timber boards as they're air-dried in timber yards, and to inform operational decisions. Major Tasmanian hardwood producers are participating in the Project, which could help to reduce waste and improve efficiency, and provide an estimated $15 million per annum boost to the $100 million industry.

Project Lead
David Blackburn
Dr David Blackburn

Research Fellow
School of Architecture and Design
University of Tasmania
david.blackburn@utas.edu.au


Viticulture

Having access to a new app and online dashboard to monitor on-farm growing conditions, understand disease and other risks, Tasmanian vineyards are making better decisions, being more environmentally responsive and increasing their financial gain.

Sense-T VitiApp

Tasmania holds a reputation as one of Australia's leading producers of premium wines, but our vineyards are susceptible to serious damage from frost, diseases such as botrytis and powdery mildew and other environmental threats.

Sense-T's Stage 1 Viticulture Project (2012-2015) was undertaken by researchers from the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) and CSIRO, who worked closely with Wine Tasmania and local vineyards. They helped the industry to manage disease risks, optimise production and minimise environmental impact by bringing together real-time sensor data, weather predictions and historical information about disease patterns. Viticulture

Sense-T, the Tasmanian Institute of of Agriculture (TIA) and the University of Tasmania's Information and Communication Technology discipline are continuing this work. They have created an innovative smartphone app that provides vineyard managers a simple and accurate way to monitor onfarm growing conditions and understand disease threats for better decision making.

Features include access to:

Having this information so easily available to vineyards is helping make management decisions easier, more environmentally responsive and generate greater economic value for growers. This Project also builds on the capacity for the industry to expand, by creating and satisfying demand through consistent yield and quality.

"We can benchmark from season to season, grower to grower, and we can start to develop a bigger picture for what we are trying to do and have a better understanding of our industry." Matt Pooley, Pooley Wines

Availability of the Sense-T VitiApp:

A pre-commercial version of the VitiApp will be released soon for industry testing.

Download Sense-T VitiApp Factsheet

Project Leads
Kathy Evans
Dr Kathy Evans

Senior Research Fellow
Perennial Horticulture Centre
Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
University of Tasmania
Katherine.Evans@utas.edu.au

Byeong Ho Kang
Associate Professor Byeong Ho Kang

Information and Communication Technology
University of Tasmania
byeong.kang@utas.edu.au


Potato Storage

A $90 000 project (Sense-T $61 000) is being conducted by Simplot Australia Pty Ltd. Sensors are being placed in two seed potato stores to measure CO2 levels in storage bins and determine the optimum storage conditions.

Annual losses from poor seed potato storage are estimated to lower crop yields by 5 per cent and cost Tasmanian producers more than $6 million per annum. Identifying storage improvements will enable a significant increase in on-farm productivity, efficiency and income.


Pasture Productivity

Sense-T Pasture PredictorHaving access to a free, online tool to help predict and prepare for upcoming livestock feed availability, farmers have boosted their productivity, efficiency and sustainability.

This $2.2 million project (Sense-T $512 000) brings together the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture and CSIRO to extend research conducted during Sense-T's Stage 1 Beef and Dairy project. Researchers are further enhancing this pasture prediction model by using sensors and data to allow farmers to predict and prepare for different scenarios, and will further develop on-animal sensors to better monitor health, grazing and productivity in the dairy and livestock industries.

Sense-T Pasture Predictor

Tasmania produces some of Australia's finest beef and dairy. A key part of this success is quality pasture. The Sense-T Pasture Predictor was developed through consultation with farmers who said they wanted to be able to determine and predict feed availability when managing herds, production and costs.

Sense-T, together with Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA), has created a unique online pasture tool that can help farmers manage their pasture. Free and easy to understand, it uses data from a range of sources including current weather conditions, rainfall events and past climate records.

New updates

Farmers can now view on a mobile device and access a new suite of other pasture management tools including; climate indices, leaf stage predictor and a nitrogen response calculator. Future developments will also look to include a long term pasture outlook tool based on climate future Tasmania data.

Impact

In the past twelve months, more than 1300 users have engaged with the online dashboard for 3400 views, with 935 using it multiple times to manage their pasture. Using these pasture management tools has enabled farms to increase productivity, efficiency and sustainability of their farm management practices.

Start using the Sense-T Pasture Predictor now

Download Sense-T Pasture Predictor Factsheet

Project Leads
Dave Henry
Dr Dave Henry

Principal Research Scientist
CSIRO Livestock Industries
CSIRO
dave.henry@csiro.au

richard rawnsley

Dr Richard Rawnsley

Dairy Centre Leader
Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
University of Tasmania
Richard.Rawnsley@utas.edu.au


Water Management

Using sensor technology and real- time information on river flows, weather and water quality, Tasmanian farmers, regulators and the environment are benefiting from improved water management.

A $1.25 million project (Sense-T $204 000) that involves researchers from CSIRO and the University of Tasmania. This Project continues and expands Sense-T's Stage 1 Adaptive Water Resources Management research, using sensors to improve water management in the South Esk and Ringarooma catchments. By providing irrigators with real-time information about river flows, weather and water quality, better decisions about water management are being made for the benefit of farmers, regulators and the environment.

Project Leads
Brigid Morrison
Brigid Morrison

Researcher
School of Land and Food
University of Tasmania
Brigid.Morrison@utas.edu.au

Philip Smethurst
Philip Smethurst

Research Scientist
Ecosystem Sciences
CSIRO
Philip.Smethurst@csiro.au


Irrigation Gateway

Using real-time data from new sensor technology to monitor and control irrigation equipment and energy use, farm managers are improving energy efficiency, water management and reducing costs.

A $500 000 project (Sense-T $496 000) led by Definium Technologies, supported by Bitlink, iConnect Electrical and Brunstedt & Lambert Systems. Newly developed sensors are being used to help monitor and control irrigation equipment and its energy use, providing real-time data to farm managers that will improve energy efficiency and water management, and reduce costs.

Project Lead
Mike Cruse
Mike Cruse

General Manager
Definium Technologies


Sensor-smart Irrigation

On-farm research and sensors are informing a new app that improves water use efficiency and agricultural sustainability, enabling farmers to make better irrigation decisions and tailor their individual systems, soil and crop types.

The Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, University of Tasmania's ICT Discipline, the National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture (NCEA) and CSIRO are working together on this $600 000 Project (Sense-T $510 000). On-farm research and sensors are informing the development of a smartphone app to help farmers decide when and how much to irrigate, tailored to their individual irrigation systems and soil and crop types, helping to improve water use efficiency and agricultural sustainability.

Project Lead
Sue Hinton
Sue Hinton

Industry Development and Extension Officer
Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
University of Tasmania
sue.hinton@utas.edu.au


BloomAlert

A real-time monitoring network for early detection and management of algal blooms is supporting water agencies to efficiently manage the quality and safety of water for drinking, recreation and irrigation.

IMAS, Tasmanian Irrigation, TasWater, NRM North and Hydro Tasmania are working together on this $600 000 project (Sense-T $372 000). BloomAlert algal bloom monitoring

The Project team are developing and validating a real-time monitoring network for early detection and management of algal blooms affecting Tasmania's drinking water and agricultural water supply systems.

The algal detection system is based on a combination of in-situ and satellite-based sensors to detect algal abundance and composition from changes in spectral (light) characteristics of water.

The Project is developing a series of water quality indicators and data applications for water agencies to efficiently manage the quality and safety of water for drinking, recreation and irrigation.

When combined with physical in-situ measurements (water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity etc) and environmental data from other sensor networks, we also aim to develop seasonal bloom risk profiles for key water storages, and ultimately algorithms for algal bloom forecasting and prediction.

Project Lead
Chris Bolch
Dr Christopher Bolch

Senior Lecturer
Algal & Molecular Biology
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
University of Tasmania
chris.bolch@utas.edu.au


About Sense-T's Industry Research Projects

Sense-T's agriculture projects are among 14 Industry Research Projects currently being undertaken. The projects have received funding of $6 million from the $13 million provided to the University of Tasmania for Sense-T by the Australian Government through the Tasmanian Jobs and Growth Plan, with a further $5 million contributed by our research and industry partners.


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