Being connected via the NBN network, means that Australian avocado growers are able to monitor their crop’s interaction with the environment better than ever before, ultimately leading to increased yields.
A search by Daryl Francis, an avocado farmer on the north coast of New South Wales, for technology to help him better manage his crop’s water requirements uncovered a sensor network powered by the NBN.
“Our avocados suffer from fruit rot because of the stress on the tree, probably because of the high temperature and low humidity,” Darryl said. Avocados are not native to Australia and need the right climate to thrive. “The data we are collecting, via the LoRaWAN network will give us an idea of what’s happening, so we can forecast when we need to increase our irrigation and mitigate the stress on the tree.”
The LoRaWAN network is a networking protocol designed to wirelessly connect battery operated devices to the internet.
LoRaWAN monitoring program
During late 2018 ICT International and NBN Co installed a LoRaWAN monitoring program at Darry’s avocado orchard with the specific objective to reduce rates of fruit drop and yield loss by improved irrigation scheduling.
The current monitoring system will be further developed to provide automated notifications via SMS and email when a water stress event is forecast. Remotely controllable irrigation systems are currently being installed, which will allow operators to act on this intelligence to actively manage risks to the crop.
The installation of LoRaWAN on Daryl’s farm has also helped him cut down the amount of physical labour required to run. “Our next step with the NBN is to install surveillance equipment to protect our farm’s biosecurity,” Daryl told miragenews.com.