Tuesday, 04 December 2018 11:34

New IoT network to help irrigate cotton farms

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New IoT network to help irrigate cotton farms Pixabay

Ag-tech firm Goanna Ag will roll out a public LoRaWAN Internet of Things network, supported by IoT enterprise provider NNNCo, to provide smart irrigation management solutions to cotton growers.

A statement from NNNCo said the network was an extension of one that it already had and covered about three million hectares across the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and the Murrumbidgee, Lachlan, Gwydir MacIntyre, Namoi and Macquarie valleys.

Coverage would be expanded throughout 2019, the company said, adding that Goanna Ag had secured funding from investors, including Westpac and Graincorp Operations, for the project.

Goanna Ag came into existence this year when Ag-tech company Discovery Ag, formed in 2016, acquired Goanna Telemetry, a leading provider of telemetry products to the irrigated cotton market for more than 15 years.

The network will be used to bring low-cost connected sensors and data analytics to growers, combining soil moisture data via installed probes, and local weather data and satellite imagery to optimise irrigation scheduling.

cotton nnnco

The NNNCo-Goanna Ag IoT network.

Goanna Ag chief executive Alicia Garden said: “Every day that a cotton crop is under stress can cost a grower over $100 per hectare. We help growers schedule and apply just the right amount of water to use on crops at just the right time so they can optimise their performance and profit.

“Connectivity has always been an issue for regional and rural areas due to lack of coverage and the relatively high cost of connection.

“LoRaWAN networks have proved ideal for agriculture here and overseas because of the low cost of sending small amounts of essential data using very low power.”

During the current cotton season, Goanna Ag will deploy its first 100 gateways in NSW and Queensland, along with more than 2000 sensors across cotton farms. These sensors include soil moisture probes, rain gauges, weather stations, and water and fuel tank monitors amongst many others.

NNNCo founder and chief executive Rob Zagarella said: "The network will significantly drive down the cost of connection for data communication and the cost of sensors using this technology. This will make the difference between isolated usage and widespread deployment of the sensors which will in turn provide more granular information and higher value to the industry.

“NNNCo has a strong partnership with Goanna Ag and has been working with them on network extension across regional areas for over 12 months. We’re very excited to take this partnership further over the coming years as IoT take-up by the agriculture sector grows.”

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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