Struan AgTech in full swing

Demo farm with latest tech launched

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DEMO LAUNCHED: Farm Manager John Cooper, Thomas Elder Institute head Michael Wilkes, TEI AgTech Development Officer Andy Phelan and SARDI co-innovation officer Robyn Terry.

DEMO LAUNCHED: Farm Manager John Cooper, Thomas Elder Institute head Michael Wilkes, TEI AgTech Development Officer Andy Phelan and SARDI co-innovation officer Robyn Terry.

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THE gap between agricultural technology developers and Lower South-East primary producers is about to be reduced considerably, after the launch of the AgTech demonstration farm near Naracoorte last week, will produce relevant, region-specific tech results.

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THE gap between agricultural technology developers and Lower South-East primary producers is about to be reduced considerably, after the launch of the AgTech demonstration farm near Naracoorte last week, will produce relevant, region-specific tech results.

The state government owned 1100 hectare Struan farm and 300ha Kybybolite farm, have about 23 different technologies in operation, ranging from weather stations to mineral supplement distribution.

AgTech Advisory Committee chair Leanna Read said removing the gap between tech development and implementation on producers' farms needed to be addressed.

"A demonstration farm needs to be local to make is adaptive to the local farming community - otherwise it is just more tech for producers to sort through.

"Seeing how tech can be applied, instead of just theoretically, helps to create direct relevance to a farmer and is key for good uptake."

Dr Reid said understanding the needs from both directions, the developer and producers, was also critical.

"A producer and developer working hand-in-hand from the beginning of tech development and throughout its operation on-farm, means tech can be structured to local needs.

"Generally, it is a once off event that demonstrates tech but this will be an ongoing resource for farmers - that is a big advantage."

The state government and Elders Ltd collaboration aims to encourage primary producers to use innovative farming practices as well as new technology to improve productivity.

The partnership forms part of the Thomas Elder Institute, Elders' newly established research, development and extension facility.

Thomas Elder Institute head Michael Wilkes said the farm was up and running, and had 23 technologies implemented on-farm.

"The data will be recorded and bench-marked, as well as case studies to demonstrate the value proposition from each piece of tech.

"It will strategically implemented AgTech across the farm to demonstrate its suitability to the local area."

Some of the technology includes weather stations, soil moisture monitoring, irrigation scheduling, remote livestock weighing and remote pasture monitoring, and farmers can view the farm by virtual tour or by appointment.

TEI AgTech Development Officer Andy Phelan said most of the AgTech was directed at saving labour and improving productivity.

Infield cattle weighing would achieve just that, with an attractant such as molasses used to lour the cattle onto a platform to be weighed, while the introduction of a mineral supplement into a stock water line rather than using lick blocks, was ready to "rock and roll".

"Irrigation scheduling will work with an existing automation on pivots but provide a weather forecast and ability to schedule watering based on what rain is expected, as well as soil evaporation and moisture readings."

RELATED: New AgTech sites proposed in SA

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