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04 November 2020
The opening of a new DATA Farm Innovation Centre at Longerenong College represents a major milestone in a plan to expand the college’s reputation as a cutting-edge learning institution.
The centre, designed to provide a training hub for future professionals working in agricultural technology, officially opened last week.
College campus head John Goldsmith said the centre opening marked the start of an exciting new digital era.
“It presents an opportunity for Victoria and Australia to be at the forefront of the latest developments in crop production,” he said.
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Backed by the State Government, the innovation centre will be open to industry by appointment.
It is part of a $2.5-million AgTide Demonstration of Agriculture Technology Application ‘DATA’ Farm Project, designed to encourage farmers to explore and adopt the latest farming equipment and technologies and associated commercial and lifestyle benefits.
DATA Farm Project manager Bryan Matuschka said new digital technology, featuring more than 250 devices and 500 sensors, was collecting more than 30,000 ‘data points’ daily from a 1070-hectare college farm.
“The innovation centre will serve as the information hub and a learning space where the technology and data can be integrated into agriculture courses at Longerenong,” he said.
“Longy students will be among the first to be fully trained using this technology, instantly becoming industry leaders and innovators when they graduate.
“They’ll be able to hit the ground running as farm managers and farm advisors, sharing their skills and experience with other growers and organisations and helping them become more efficient and profitable.”
Digital data helps take guesswork out of many traditional farming processes such as pest control and crop-disease prevention or management. It provides accurate evidence to help with decision-making.
As part of their studies, Longerenong students will learn to use the technology and collect, monitor and analyse data across three key areas including but not limited to:
• Environment – rain, temperature, humidity, frost, soil moisture, solar and UV radiation, leaf wetness;
• Machinery – drones, satellites, topsoil mapping, airseeding, harvester and self-propelled boomspray management;
• Operations – trough and tank levels, machinery roll-over and hay storage, fence and gate monitoring.
“Unlike so many other industries, agriculture has remained largely unaffected and even experienced an increase in demand as a result of COVID-19, making it one of the most attractive and stable future career options for young people,” Mr Matuschka said.
“With so many great new gadgets to explore, the latest farming machinery to play with and the opportunity to spend time outdoors, we think more young people will be choosing a career in agriculture in 2021 and the future.”
Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes congratulated the college on the opening of the innovation centre.
“Students who come through Longy have the potential for a bright, exciting future in agriculture,” she said.
“I’m thrilled to back projects like this one that set students up to be industry leaders for a long, rewarding career in ag.”
People keen to find out more can visit website longy.com.au.
The entire November 4, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!