GRDC is one of the world’s leading grains research organisations responsible for planning, investing in and overseeing research, development and extension to deliver improvements in production, sustainability and profitability across the Australian grains industry.
Nuffield Australia 2019 Scholarship winner
Andrew Sargent from Crystal Brook, South Australia, receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by the Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC). He will investigate how farm sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT) can improve the efficiency and profitability of cropping and mixed farming enterprises.
A fifth-generation farmer with an eye on the future, Andrew runs a continuous cropping grain enterprise comprising wheat, barley, lentils, canola and oaten hay production across 2,000 hectares of owned and leased land about 200km north of Adelaide.
As someone who cares for and manages the land, Andrew is particularly focussed on how new sensor technologies can allow for better weather observations and inform the decision-making process when it comes to climate variability, as well as reduce staff costs and monitoring times.
“To increase the scale of our operation, we’ll need to utilise new technologies to bolster current practices. There’s a lot of interest from Australian farmers in sensor technology, but we’re lacking the knowledge and confidence to implement it successfully on farm,” he said.
“Through my research, I plan on travelling to the Netherlands, which is leading the way in the free roll out of IoT networks currently used for smart city and environmental monitoring, as well as leading research institutions in Europe and agtech start-ups in the United States.
“Sensor technology opens up a host of benefits for the food and fibre supply chain, from grains right through to livestock and viticulture. I look forward to presenting my findings to industry, which I hope will provide insights that farmers can use to collect more regular and accurate data to inform decision-making.”