The Victorian Government is contributing $60000 towards Birchip Cropping Group’s new precision agriculture technology that will increase productivity and profitability.
The grant has been provided through the government’s $20million Food Source Victoria program, which supports food producers and businesses working together to grow exports and create new jobs.
Birchip Cropping Group will deliver the $90000 project as part of its efforts to empower grain growers to better utilise digital technologies and analytics that are transforming the agricultural industry.
Digital tools and farm services known as precision agriculture include variable rate spraying, fertiliser application and high-tech weather stations linked to water supply services.
These tools have the potential to help farmers make more informed decisions, manage land remotely, value-add products and run more efficient businesses.
Less than 25 per cent of arable farmland in Australia is currently managed using precision agriculture technologies.
The project is set to increase the understanding of data management and the uptake of precision agricultural technologies through three components:
■Identifying the potential for more farmers to use precision agriculture and grow their businesses.
■The development of a working model to demonstrate how ‘farm data’ can benefit growers.
■Workshops involving a pilot group of farmers to identify the benefits and challenges around farm data management.
The project has the potential to be implemented across the Wimmera Mallee region, which would in turn benefit grain growers and associated businesses by adding value of up to $125/ha, growing exports to premium markets in Japan and China, and create new jobs.
Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said the government was working with BCG to help more farmers use new technology and better adapt to a variable climate.