Research and development
As part of the Victorian Government’s Smarter, Safer Farms program, Agriculture Victoria is fast-tracking innovative technology for agriculture on four SmartFarms at Tatura, Ellinbank, Horsham and Hamilton.
The state-of-the-art SmartFarms create, test and demonstrate smart technology solutions for agriculture in partnership with agriculture industries.
SmartFarms provide a forum to understand on-farm technology integration and develop new applications for agtech. Demonstrating the impacts of these solutions in a farm environment allows farmers and growers to gain a better understanding of how best to adopt agtech to improve farm profitability.
SmartFarms provide regional benefits by attracting agtech businesses and the world’s best science across Victoria’s agriculture regions. They also show the future of agriculture to students and help attract more primary and secondary students into science and agriculture.
Horticulture SmartFarm at Tatura
The Tatura SmartFarm in the Goulburn Valley will use new technology to improve productivity by highlighting and shaping future fruit production systems for export markets.
It will focus on demonstrating how precise fruit quality can be achieved through orchard design, orchard management and post-harvest management.
This SmartFarm has the world’s first Sundial experimental orchard for pome and stonefruit to enable full evaluation of interactions between row orientation, tree density and architecture on fruit quality and yield.
A smart fruit quality facility, integrated with smart orchards, will also be established to enable industry to measure and maintain the quality and value of fruit through production and supply chains. This will help Victorian grower’s ability to meet the exacting quality expectations of the retail sector and consumers.
Grains SmartFarm at Horsham
The Horsham SmartFarm in the Wimmera is focused on improving outcomes for the grains industry through seed to landscape innovations.
This SmartFarm will integrate big data to underpin industry outcomes for the next generation of agtech and has been designed to complement existing Agriculture Victoria innovation assets such as the Australian Grains Genebank and Plant Phenomics Victoria.
Landscape mapping using satellite imaging, yield mapping and prediction, and ground cover and resource management, will be undertaken alongside the use of sensor and plant phenotyping technologies in field trials.
Dairy SmartFarm at Ellinbank
The Ellinbank SmartFarm in Gippsland incorporates technologies to improve pasture production, allocation and utilisation linked with supplementary feeding systems to improve productivity across dairy herds.
Technology is being used to improve milk production, calf rearing, animal reproductive performance and animal health and welfare. Agriculture Victoria Research aims to use new technologies to demonstrate improved whole of life animal performance across the herd.
This SmartFarm has an ambitious target of being the world’s first carbon-neutral dairy farm by reducing carbon emissions, improving energy efficiency and generating electricity through a range of alternate options including solar, wind and bio-digestion.
Livestock SmartFarm at Hamilton
The Hamilton SmartFarm in South West Victoria is focused on forage innovation for dairy and livestock industries and cropping in the High Rainfall Zone.
It will incorporate sensor technologies to measure pasture parameters such as pasture mass and nutritive value. Smart feeding systems to improve feed efficiency for sheep will also be investigated at this SmartFarm.