News & Media

DPIRD ag-tech investments on show at Southern Dirt TECHSPO 2019

Released on

Released on:
Wednesday, 10. July 2019 - 12:15

The latest innovations and initiatives to support the advancement and adoption of agricultural technology in Western Australia will be showcased by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development at Southern Dirt TECHSPO 2019.

The department has partnered with the Southern Dirt grower group in this year’s biannual event, to be held on 7-8 August across two locations.

The day one conference and exhibition at the Wagin Showgrounds will feature a range of department ag-tech investments in grains, livestock and farm management.

Broadacre farmers will be able to learn more about the department’s recent improvements to the Pastures from Space service, which now features an interactive, zoom-in function to get a closer analysis of feed on offer and pasture growth rates.

Livestock producers can also learn how to get the most out of the updated Sheep Condition Scoring app, to aid feed budgeting and flock management.

Grain growers will be interested in the department’s work on new moth traps to survey caterpillar pests and sticky traps to identify aphid flights.

The department will also have a display of its long range/low power wide area network (LoRaWAN) dashboard, to demonstrate a range of Internet of Things applications, including a water flow meter and sensors for temperature, water tank and silo levels, and wire gates.

Visitors will be able to wander along Start-up Alley, where emerging ag-tech companies will show off their innovations, such as drones, big-data analysis, livestock tracking, remote sensing, food traceability, water management and food packaging.    

Department senior economist Brad Plunkett will speak at the conference about the department’s eConnect project and the importance and scope of ag-tech productivity gains.

His colleague, research officer Kim Brooksbank, will discuss the use of agricultural waste streams to produce energy and new markets for emerging renewable fuels made from crop and plantation forestry waste.

Day two of TECHSPO, at the department’s Katanning Research Facility, will feature a unique, interactive workshop experience, to showcase several connectivity options alongside a collection of smart farming applications to solve every-day farming challenges.

Four commercial network providers have been engaged to demonstrate how various network options, like 3G and LoRaWAN, could be used for monitoring and surveillance, including weather stations, moisture probes, GPS tracking and sensors.

Department Research, Development and Innovation Managing Director Mark Sweetingham said the workshop participants would be able to see first-hand how these new technologies could be integrated into their operation to benefit their business.

Dr Sweetingham said the event provided a unique opportunity for farmers, developers and department staff to come together to discuss how ag-tech products and networks could be advanced to generate improved productivity and profitability.

“Ag-tech is the new frontier for agricultural improvements, from the research laboratory, to the paddock, through the value chain and in the farm office,” he said.

“It is important for government, industry and the community to work together to continue to develop innovations in ag-tech so our primary industries can remain internationally competitive in an increasingly complex and dynamic global marketplace.”

TECHSPO will feature a number of other public and private sector ag-tech exhibitors, speakers and providers. Further program, exhibition and registration details are available at here. 

Two men standing in front of a large television screen
DPIRD senior development officer Keith Ohlsen (left) and project manager Darren Gibbon will be on hand on day two of TECHSPO to talk to participants about digital networks and the application of ag-tech products.

Media contacts:

Jodie Thomson/Megan Broad, media liaison                        

+61 (0)8 9368 3937