FAQs – On-Farm IoT Trial

Farmers using digital agriculture tools.

This page answers common questions about the On-Farm IoT Trial. See also FAQs – Data collection and storage.

Why were the four industries chosen?

Dairy, sheep, horticulture and cropping were selected as four important representative industries for Victoria’s agricultural sector. Selection of these industries will allow a broad range of IoT technologies to be tested across a diverse cross section of Victorian farms and across different topographical and climatic areas.

Trial learnings about the performance of IoT technologies on farms within the four industries will be used to inform an additional future Victorian Government program to further support the uptake of digital technologies across Victoria’s broader agriculture sector.

What is the timeline for the trial?

The On-Farm IoT Trial will take place over approximately a two-year period. Grant funding for the trial will be delivered in  two funding rounds.

The first funding round was a pilot round, during which Agriculture Victoria enrolled 92 farms.

Outcomes of the pilot round were used to inform the design of round 2 of the trial.

Who is not eligible to take part in the trial?

The following entities are not eligible to participate in the On-Farm IoT Trial:

  • off-farm food processors, packing or cold storage facilities
  • Commonwealth, state or local government agencies or bodies
  • publicly funded research institutions
  • industry associations
  • not-for-profit organisations
  • community-based organisations.

Packhouses or off-farm packing facilities are not an eligible entry.

Schools are not eligible unless they meet the criteria listed in the applicant guidelines for a commercial farm.

Anyone interested in taking part in the On-Farm IoT Trial should read the applicant guidelines to determine their eligibility before applying.

Can new farms that are not trading yet apply?

Only commercial farms that meet the criteria and listed in the applicant guidelines and that are not listed as an ineligible entity are eligible to take part in the trial.

Anyone interested in taking part in the On-Farm IoT Trial should read the applicant guidelines to determine their eligibility before applying.

Download:

How to apply

What is the application process?

Please see information for applicants for more details on the application process.

Grants

How much is the grant worth?

For round 2 of funding, a maximum grant amount of $25,000 (excluding GST) will be awarded per eligible application.

The grant amount awarded will depend on the total cost of the apps and devices you have selected to purchase.

You will be required to make a minimum co-contribution of $1 for every $2 grant money awarded, based on the cost of apps and devices excluding GST.

Can I take part in more than one grant funding round?

Only one grant will be awarded per eligible farm business under the trial.

A farm business that has been awarded a grant during one funding round will not be eligible to apply for funding under subsequent rounds. However, the department may, at its sole and absolute discretion, consider eligibility of applicants to more than one funding round on a case-by-case basis.

If you own more than one eligible farm business, you may be eligible to apply for more than one grant under the trial.

I have more than one farm. Can I apply for more than one grant?

If you have more than one eligible farm business, you may be able to apply for more than one grant.

Farm businesses under multiple ABNs, and who can demonstrate that each farm is being conducted as a separate farm business, are eligible to apply for funding.

Applicant eligibility to receive more than one grant in these circumstances will be considered by the department on a case-by-case basis and the department’s decision will be final.

What is the maximum value of apps and devices I can order?

There is no limit to the total cost of apps and devices you can order, but the maximum grant amount for the funding round will still apply.

It will be up to you to meet the additional costs, in addition to the minimum co-contribution.

The apps and devices you select must be deemed suitable by the department for your on-farm needs and identified in your grant application.

When will I be paid my grant?

Payment of the grant will occur once you have purchased and installed your IoT apps and devices and submitted the required documentation to the department. Purchase, install and submission for reimbursement must occur as stipulated by the department.

Required documentation will be listed in your Grant Agreement. You will be required to enter into a Grant Agreement with the department to receive a grant and to enrol in the On-Farm IoT Trial as a Participating Farmer.

How long do I have to purchase my apps and devices?

You must purchase your apps and devices by the stipulated date in your Grant Agreement unless otherwise agreed by the department.

IoT technologies and the Catalogue of Apps & Devices

How was the technology for the Catalogue of Apps & Devices chosen?

A Request for Proposal (RFP) for on-farm IoT apps and devices was released in 2018. The RFP invited agtech suppliers of IoT apps and devices to submit a proposal for their technology to be considered for the On-Farm IoT Trial catalogue.

Suppliers of IoT technology for the catalogue were identified through a Request for Proposal process and this process is now closed.

The technology I want to trial is not in the catalogue. Can I trial technology not listed?

You will only be able to apply for funding to contribute to the cost of IoT technologies that are listed in the Catalogue of Apps & Devices or IoT technologies offered by suppliers listed in the catalogue.

Will the technology on offer work with my existing equipment?

It depends on what equipment you have. In considering what IoT technologies to trial, there will be opportunities for applicants to seek more information from suppliers about the technology that is on offer and its compatibility with technology that is already on-farm.

Network connectivity and the trial regions

How will the trial regions be determined?

The trial regions will be defined by the extent of IoT network coverage. Connectivity is expected to cover the majority of the local government areas of Greater Shepparton, Wellington, Loddon, Buloke, and parts of Moira Shire.

A Request for Proposal (RFP) for IoT network connectivity was released in 2018. The RFP invited network providers to submit a proposal to deliver IoT network capability to these regions.

NNNCo was successful through this process and will partner with Agriculture Victoria as the network provider for the trial. NNNCo is a leading Australian IoT network provider with experience deploying and managing networks to support cities, utilities, logistics and agriculture.

NNNCo will roll out LoRaWAN across the trial regions. LoRaWAN is a long-range network that wirelessly connects devices to the internet. More information will become available as the IoT network is rolled out to the trial regions.

How can I find out if my farm is in a trial region?

Contact one of the three Industry Technology Coordinators facilitating this trial.

What if my farm is on the edge or straddles the trial boundary?

Agriculture Victoria will work with NNNCo with the aim to maximise the total network area and number of farm properties covered under the trial. If needed, please contact one of the trial coordinators to discuss.

How will the trial affect my current data plan or contract?

NNNCo is delivering LoRaWAN IoT network connectivity to support apps and devices installed on-farm under the On-Farm IoT Trial.

If you already have a data plan or contract with another network carrier, you will need to speak to your carrier about your current arrangements and how these might be affected by the trial.

Support for trial participants

Who will help me interpret the data collected from the devices?

The level and type of decision-making support (data interpretation) offered will depend on the devices you select from the catalogue.

In some instances, suppliers of IoT apps and devices offer data interpretation services to support their products. Agriculture Victoria recommends you speak to an approved trial supplier or contact one of the Industry Technology Coordinators.

Will the supplier fix things if the technology doesn’t work?

Suppliers to the Catalogue of Apps & Devices have entered a service level agreement with Agriculture Victoria to provide service support to farmers participating in the trial.

If you purchase apps or devices from a supplier under the trial, you can expect customer support from the supplier in the same way that you would expect support for any purchase of a commercial product.

If technology purchased under the trial is not working, you should contact the supplier of the technology in the first instance for support.

If you are unsatisfied with the level of support that is offered by the supplier, you can contact us at ag.iot@djpr.vic.gov.au for further assistance.

What happens when things don’t work?

If technology purchased under the trial is not working, you should contact the supplier of the technology in the first instance for support.

Before purchasing equipment under the trial, you must ensure that you are familiar with the warranty conditions of purchase, as you would for the purchase of any piece of commercial equipment.

If you are unsatisfied with the level of support that is offered by the supplier, you can contact us at ag.iot@djpr.vic.gov.au for further assistance.

After the On-Farm IoT Trial

What will happen to the apps and devices at the end of the trial?

It will be up to you to decide what you would like to do with the apps or devices at the end of the trial.

Depending on which apps or devices you selected from the catalogue, you may own these outright, or may be leasing or renting them under a subscription plan for the trial period. These conditions will be clear when you select which apps and devices you would like to test under the trial.

In the case of a lease or rental arrangement, you will be required to deal directly with the supplier to negotiate continuing this arrangement beyond the trial period, or to end the arrangement.

Do I have to continue to send my data to Agriculture Victoria after the trial?

No. Agriculture Victoria will not collect data from apps and devices beyond the period of the trial.

What happens to the network connectivity after the trial?

The On-Farm IoT Trial is supporting IoT network connectivity to the trial regions for approximately a two-year period of the trial.

Beyond the trial period, NNNCo will determine what ongoing network coverage it will offer.

The department considered applications to the Connectivity Request for Proposal process with the expectation that connectivity solutions tendered would continue to be viable and supportable beyond the two-year trial period.

Page last updated: 03 Dec 2020