The State Government invested $582 800 towards the program with funding shared between the recipients.
The program was designed to demonstrate on-farm connectivity solutions to support remote digital farm monitoring with IoT sensors and devices, even in areas without current farm-wide connectivity.
The grant recipients integrated a range of connectivity, IoT and dashboard equipment into their operations.
The 15 projects were run by – Corrigin Farm Improvement Group, Edmund Rice College, Esperance Farm Training Centre – Esperance SHS, Kiara College, Lakes Information & Farming Technology, Merredin and Districts Farm Improvement Group, Mingenew Irwin Group, Moora Miling Pasture Improvement Group, Stirlings to Coast Farmers (two projects), South East Premium Wheat Growers Association (two projects), WA Colleges of Agriculture – Cunderdin and Morawa, and Yuna Farm Improvement Group.
The on-farm connectivity network solutions on host farms included both low and high bandwidth technologies with Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) using the LoRaWAN and SigFox communication protocols, mesh networks, 3G/4G mobile network and on-farm Wi-Fi networks.
They were demonstrated across small and large farms, across neighbouring properties, on flat and undulating land, and to farm properties located at significant distances from the home farm.
A number of IoT devices were demonstrated operating on these connectivity networks and the data analysed and displayed on supplier or aggregated dashboards that could be read from a laptop, tablet, in the home office or out in the paddock.
The groups investigated various IoT sensors and devices such as soil moisture, tank level sensors for water, spray and diesel tanks, weather stations, rain gauges, water flow meters, frost sensors, electric fence monitors, and security cameras.
A snapshot of the 15 projects is outlined below.
Moore Catchment Council (MCC)
Along with the Moora Miling Pasture Improvement Group, MCC explored remote farm monitoring through 'do-it-yourself' installation of LoRaWAN - LPWAN soil moisture monitoring and water tank levels on four farms. The group used a MoteNet dashboard for viewing data.
Kiara College was one of five agricultural schools to benefit from eConnected’s IoT grants. The College installed SigFox - LPWAN on-farm connectivity for monitoring IoT weather stations, soil moisture and rain gauge devices in eight locations, across the school farm. AxisTech and PairTree provided the data viewing platforms.
Mingenew Irwin Group (MIG)
MIG used its grants program funding to install a LoRaWAN on-farm connectivity system with two weather stations, four soil moisture probes, spray tank levels, four rain gauges, and diesel tank devices. They were able to monitor these devices from seven different locations, across a large farm. GoannaAg was the platform provider, using GoSat platforms.
South East Premium Wheat Growers Association (SEPWA)
SEPWA trialled on-farm connectivity and IoT farm monitoring across properties 100km apart, thanks to eConnected’s IoTgrants program. Two farm neighbours and SEPWA installed IoT weather stations, soil moisture stations, tank level sensors with 3G/4G mobile, repeater stations and WiFi. SEPWA used 3G/4G and WiFi in a mesh connectivity network and viewed its IoT data on the FarmHub dashboard by Origo.
WA College of Agriculture – Cunderdin
The WA College of Agriculture – Cunderdin installed LoRaWAN on-farm connectivity for monitoring IoT weather stations, frost, soil and water sensors devices at over 30 locations on its agricultural college farm and used a Stratus Imaging dashboard.
Yuna Farm Improvement Group (YFIG)
Sixteen YFIG farmers created a network of IoT soil moisture probes to join their 50-strong rainfall gauge network across YFIG properties, using 3G/4G mobile connectivity. MyWildeye was the data viewing platform provider for this project.
Esperance Farm Training Centre – Esperance SHS
Via funding from eConnected’s IoT grants program, the Esperance Farm Training Centre installed an IoT weather station and water flow meter using 3G/4G mobile connectivity and long range antennas. Data viewing was via the FarmHub dashboard by Origo.
Merredin and Districts Farm Improvement Group Inc (MADFIG)
MADFIG embarked on two projects. In the first, MADFIG installed a catchment-wide digital rain gauge network at 21 sites across the member base using 3G/4G mobile towers for connectivity. Two member farms also installed IoT sensors for frost, fuel tank levels and weather stations. MyWildeye was the data viewing platform.
In the second project, three MADFIG farmers installed WiFi across their farm poperties for connectivity, enabling WiFi calling and the use of higher bandwidth IoT devices. The MADFIG farmers each installed fixed and roving IoT connected cameras and lower bandwidth IoT devices including rain gauge, temperature sensors, soil moisture probe and weather stations, and WiFi repeaters in vehicles. GoApp by GoannaAg was the data veiwing platform.
Stirlings to Coast Farmers (SCF)
SCF established a Smart Farms Hub for cropping farms and tested two different connectivity technologies for remote farm monitoring at the site. Mobile 3G/4G connectivity was used to operate soil moisture probes and a DTN weather station. SCF also installed LoRaWAN LPWAN connectivity to operate GoannaAg rain gauges. Weather Sentry from DTN was the data viewing platform used.
A Smart Farms Hub for mixed farms was also established by SCF where three different connectivity technologies for remote IoT farm monitoring were tested including 3G/4G mobile to operate a weather station and a rain gauge, and SigFox-LPWAN connectivity to operate rain gauges and a soil moisture probe. LoRaWAN-LPWAN connectivity was installed in ancipation of operating other devices using this connectivity option. Weather Sentry from DTN was the data viewing platform used.
Edmund Rice College
Edmund Rice College installed WiFi across its farm property for connectivity, with WiFi towers enabling WiFi calling and the use of higher bandwidth IoT devices. The College installed IoT monitoring cameras, a weather station, soil moisture probes, water tank level sensors and electric fence sensors. The viewing dashboard for the low bandwidth IoT devices was GoannaAg.
Lakes Information and Farming Technology (LIFT)
Three growers from the LIFT group installed WiFi across their farm properties, enabling WiFi calling and the use of higher bandwidth IoT devices, and WiFi repeaters in vehicles. The WiFi connectivity supports the portable and fixed monitoring cameras. LoRaWAN gateways were also installed for connectivity to lower bandwidth IoT devices operating wireless rain gauges, water tank level sensors and lick feeder sensors. LIFT growers developed a custom-made data viewing dashboard.
Corrigin Farm Improvement Group (CFIG)
Two CFIG growers used 3G/4G mobile tower connectivity to connect their IoT devices. CFIG installed soil moisture probes, weather station and frost sensors. CFIG used a customised ICT International dashboard for viewing data.
Western Australian College of Agriculture (WACOA) Morawa
WA College of Agriculture Morawa installed WiFi across its farm property for connectivity, with WiFi towers enabling WiFi calling and the use of higher bandwidth IoT devices. The College installed IoT monitoring cameras, a weather station, soil moisture probes, electric fence sensors and gate controller. The viewing dashboard for the low bandwidth IoT devices was GoannaAg.
Find out more about the IoT program and the grants at www.agric.wa.gov.au/internetofthings