by Peter Bolger
Agriculture is one of Australia’s largest economic contributors, worth $60 billion; and yet, its sustainability is based solely on access to suitable water for the growth of crops and the survival of livestock.
Livestock can live for a week without food, but it takes just 24 hours without water on a hot 40-degree day (not uncommon in rural and remote Australia) for their health to start rapidly deteriorating. Historically, farmers have spent up to three days each week driving around their multi-hectare properties to monitor water troughs and tanks.
Further, there are currently 120,000 farms across Australia at the mercy of damaging floods and droughts. These disasters have the potential to seriously impact the livelihood of farmers.
With all these challenges facing Australian farmers, the industry requires forward thinking companies to help reshape modern agriculture practice and support greater efficiencies and cost savings.
In 2014, Agtech start-up Farmbot took up this mantle, striving to create a better method for monitoring water usage across largescale farming properties with technology that would track water quality, levels, pressure, flow and much more.
During the formative stages, we were approached by Farmbot to partner in this project. By merging traditional agricultural farming practices with Internet of Things (IoT) enabled by Pivotel’s satellite technology, Farmbot is able to provide water monitoring data and insights for farmers in the most remote locations of Australia.
Farmbot’s water monitoring solution provides farmers with real-time water level data, visibility and control over water assets for a more sustainable and stable water supply.
The technology is designed to bring farmers peace of mind with water monitoring data and insights that are virtually real-time, while saving them up to 200 hours every year in time spent tracking water assets. It also significantly reduces the running costs and fuel emissions from vehicles previously needed to complete water checks.
Our partnership with Farmbot enables the water monitoring solution to be deployed in the country’s most regional locations using satellite connectivity.
This project has been extremely rewarding for myself and the Pivotel team. It’s incredible what two companies can achieve together when working towards a goal that transcends the corporate bottom line.
Pivotel and Farmbot were awarded ‘Satellite Provider of the Year’ at this year’s ACCOM Awards for the collaboration on this innovative remote water monitoring solution.
More than awards, this is a story I want to share with my network and beyond, to inspire innovation, collaboration and protection of our country’s vital agricultural industry.