Monday 16th Dec, 2019

CSIRO launches digital agriculture research station

Drones, remote monitoring and advanced data analytics are being used in the CSIRO’s new $11.5 million digital agriculture research station in southwest NSW.

Drones, remote monitoring and advanced data analytics are being used in the CSIRO’s new $11.5 million digital agriculture research station in southwest NSW.

The Boorowa Agriculture Research Station has more than 100 temperature and humidity probes, 72 soil moisture probes and six weather stations to monitor crop science, agronomy and farming system experiments.

Spanning 290 hectares, the farm took four years to design and build. It provides scientists with accurate data when studying crops and farming systems.

Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews said the Boorowa Agricultural Research Station demonstrates the nation’s investment and commitment to innovative agriculture.

“We’re aiming for an Australian agriculture industry worth $100 billion by 2030. Cutting-edge research and technology will be key to achieving that goal,” Andrews said.

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“Implemented across all Australian production sectors, digital agriculture has the potential to lift the value of agricultural production by $20.3 billion.

“Equipped with state-of-the-art digital agriculture technologies, including sensors for real-time crop monitoring, weather stations and digital analytics, the research station will develop and test world-leading farming technologies.”

Director of CSIRO Agriculture and Food Dr Michiel van Lookeren Campagne said it was more important than ever to advance innovative science to build resilient agriculture systems and increase food production.

“Our agriculture industries are facing major challenges, especially with the current drought,” van Lookeren Campagne said.

“Here at Boorowa, we’ll be trialling new varieties of wheat, canola, legumes and pastures that can withstand warmer and drier conditions, such as those predicted for the future.

“We’ll also continue to research the best farming practices to manage our fragile soils and get the most from every drop of water.”

“The better we can understand how plants grow and produce in a real farming environment – not just the lab – the more we can help Australian agriculture meet its $100 billion target.”

The research station replaces the Ginninderra Experimental Station, which was established outside of Canberra in 1958.