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On-farm Digital Agriculture

Project overview

Today, smart technologies are already helping farmers produce more food with fewer inputs—by optimizing seeding, fertilizer use, herd health and more. However, we see opportunities to do more.

To help make that happen, we’re facilitating partnerships between the local farming community, academic researchers and innovators to launch research and demonstration projects. This includes aiding connectivity through broadband or low-power wide-area networks like LoRaWAN, testing new digital technologies that measure and record crop yields and quality, and incorporating precision-control equipment into operations to give farmers access to vast amounts of on-field data.

Farmers are keen to pursue this kind of innovation. According to a 2019 survey conducted by the Wellington Federation of Agriculture, 70 per cent of Wellington farmers are interested in piloting new technologies.

Approach

In our pilots, we plan to partner with local farmers, academic researchers, logistics experts and technology partners to tap into current sources of on-farm data such as aerial imagery, soil sampling or robotic milkers. Through deploying additional on-farm sensors and data collectors, we can combine new data with information from off-farm sources such as rainfall measurements from local weather stations or pesticide trackers from existing farm dealer platforms.

Bringing data together in one place creates exciting possibilities. It supports precision agriculture, for example, by helping farmers limit seed planting and pesticide use in areas where standing water or water runoff results in poor crop yields. It makes reporting and sharing local knowledge easier and more accurate. It also helps identify opportunities for innovation challenges, where technology companies and other solution providers can be invited to propose solutions to problems. These pilot projects will be part of our living lab, supporting and augmenting the agricultural sector’s existing efficiencies to pursue sustained growth.

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