Victoria’s grains industry and the Wimmera’s wider agriculture sector are set to be at the forefront of farm technology with the opening of the Horsham SmartFarm, supported by the Andrews Labor Government.
Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes today officially launched the SmartFarm at the Horsham Grains Innovation Centre, which will focus on fast-tracking the development and on-farm adoption of digital agriculture innovations, supporting the training and development of the region’s farm workforce.
The Horsham farm is the first of four SmartFarms to be opened across the state, thanks to $5 million from the Labor Government’s SmartSkills from SmartFarms Program, which is building skills in science and digital agriculture.
The new SmartFarm will use facilities at the Grains Innovation Park including the Australian Grains Genebank and Plant Phenomics Victoria, as well as a 600-hectare research farm.
The initiative will support 100 dedicated research and innovation staff focused on engaging Victorian grain growers in cutting-edge digital technology to increase their productivity, profitability and sustainability.
Research activities at the SmartFarm will include the use of remote sensing tools to identify frost damage, the development of automated remote irrigation systems to mimic disease conducive conditions, and an imaging system to help growers determine the quality of their grain.
Complementing the SmartFarms initiative is a new Centre for Agricultural Innovation, a strategic research partnership between the Labor Government through Agriculture Victoria and the University of Melbourne.
The Centre for Agricultural Innovation will undertake research activities at Agriculture Victoria’s SmartFarms throughout Victoria, hosting PhD students enrolled with the University of Melbourne who will generate new knowledge and advance science frontiers.
The Labor Government is partnering with industry, agribusiness and communities to build SmartFarms in key regional centres across the state as gateways to research, innovation, technology and skills development for Victoria’s major agriculture industries.
For more information about SmartFarms, visit agriculture.vic.gov.au/smartfarms
As stated by Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes
“We’ve been working with Victorian farmers to understand how digital technology can revolutionise their businesses – now we’re working with some of the world’s best and brightest agricultural minds to bring this technology to life.”
“On top of their benefits to farmers, SmartFarms will attract top researchers and agriculture technology businesses to regional Victoria – boosting the local economies and communities that thrive on farming.”