Diesel sensor can help with thefts and audits

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The diesel sensor uses magnetic feet to stick to the side of steel fuel tanks.

The Deniliquin arrest of a man towing 1400 litres of stolen diesel is another reminder to farmers to keep a close eye on their farm fuel tanks.

Fuel theft often goes unreported because farmers don’t notice the missing litres.

The arrest occurred on July 14, after police officers were called to Rice Mill Rd, Deniliquin following reports of suspicious activity about 5am.

The officers approached a parked ute which was towing a trailer and spoke with the driver, a 26-year-old man.

Police searched the vehicle and seized two 200 litre drums and a 1000 litre fuel tank.

All were filled with diesel.

Police also allegedly found a balaclava, fuel pump, crowbar and extra number plates in the car.

Australian agtech company Farmbot has seen plenty of interest in its diesel level sensor since launching the product this year.

The sensor logs when fill and drain events occur, notifies farmers when the tank needs a refill and can be customised to trigger an alert when it senses activity.

Farmbot managing director Andrew Coppin said the sensor had been under trial for a year and only became available three months ago.

“There has certainly been a lot of interest,” Mr Coppin said.

“Farmers need to be able to quantify how much diesel they are using for rebates and the diesel sensor eliminates the need to run out and monitor your fuel usage for audits.”

Mr Coppin said there was early interest from producers in Victoria and South Australia who “just want peace of mind” alongside station owners in the Northern Territory and Kimberley who want to save going out on fuel checks.

“For a lot of these big stations they have tanks away from the homestead and there are tourists and transient people moving through the property.

“You don’t want to be caught down the back paddock thinking there is fuel there and find there’s none. It’s a long way to walk.”

The sensor itself costs $1890 and needs an annual subscription to Farmbot’s software to operate.

“If it’s a cellular connection it’s $342 a year, and if it’s satellite it’s $456 a year,” Mr Coppin said.

“It works out to about $1 a day (cellular subscription). If you think about how far you’d get the Toyota on $1 of fuel per day and add to that the cost of labour it makes sense to to get the sensor and replace fuel check runs.”

Mr Coppin said farmers were increasingly looking for peace of mind and investing in time saving devices.

The 26-year-old man found in Deniliquin with the stolen diesel was charged with attempting to drive while under the influence of drugs, receiving property stolen outside NSW, having goods suspected of being stolen and using a prohibited weapon without permit — alongside several other charges.

He was refused bail and will appear before Deniliquin Local Court.