AgTech Machine Learning

CSIRO and AgTech company Goanna Ag have announced a partnership to maximise the use of irrigation water

Australia’s national science agency the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and agtech company Goanna Ag have announced a partnership that will see sensors and analytics combined to maximise every drop of irrigation water used to grow crops. Under the partnership, Goanna Ag will incorporate WaterWise, a CSIRO-developed technology, into its existing GoField irrigation management system.

Goanna Ag, formed in July 2018, is an Australian AgTech company delivering the next generation of smart farming practices. Through low cost, low power, long range sensors and networks, they work with growers to provide data-driven solutions that simplify farm resource management and improve water-use efficiency.

For Goanna Ag and its customers, being involved in this innovation means they can access brand-new, Australian-made, science-based technology and incorporate it into their existing GoField system. Being able to predict when to irrigate will allow our clients – farmers – to plan based on what the plant needs.

Alicia Garden, CEO, Goanna Ag

The WaterWise system measure the canopy temperature of crops every 15 minutes. The field data, in sync with the weather forecast is then processed using CSIRO’s unique algorithm to predict the crop’s water requirements for the next seven days. WaterWise team leader Dr Rose Brodrick explains that predicting the future is the real breakthrough science. It means for the first time, growers can see the water stress of their crops at any point and predict their future water needs.

“Just like humans, plants have an optimum temperature. When things are normal it’s easier to predict when a plant will need water. But when conditions change — like with a new crop, a new field, or unusually hot or cold weather forecasted — farmers want backup with their decision making.”

WaterWise team leader Dr Rose Brodrick

The next steps for WaterWise are to take it from in-field based canopy sensors to drones or satellites. Goanna Ag expects the system incorporating WaterWise will be commercially available in time for the 2020 summer cropping season.

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