Big Sky Technologies + DataFarming: Digital Farming Project Win
June 24, 2020
Big Sky Technologies and DataFarming are two of four regionally-based agtech businesses who are working with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) and Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE) Digital Farming Collaboration Project in 2020. This project is one of a number of collaborations these members of our AgFrontier cohort are currently engaged in.
The aim of the project is to transform ‘Condamine Plains’ aggregation located near Dalby in Queensland’s Darling Downs region west of Brisbane. The main objective is to demonstrate a collaborative approach by five commercial agriculture hardware and software companies to provide producers with one interconnected data ecosystem powered by multiple sensors, gateways, and software solutions in an easily consumable format. Demonstrating:
that parallel technologies & development timelines can work together to provide a seamless integration of products/services as a commercially viable consumers product offering, and;
the development of inter-operability guidelines to promote wider adoption to assist with solving fragmented industry approach or/or sole vendor lock in.
Big Sky Technologies
Founded by Toby Harpham and Jason McNeice, Big Sky Techologies tackles challenges around Connectivity and Tractor & Harvest Hardware on this project.
Connectivity: This element has been universally identified as a key barrier to adoption of digital technologies in Agriculture. There is a common misconception that a highly skilled installation process is required, and hence a high price for connectivity. We are aiming to demonstrate that a simple and scalable solution is
available that is also multi device & gateway compatible. This project can also demonstrate that whilst a ‘key’ connectivity can be identified that additional overlapping/ available connectivity pieces can be added where necessary to allow flexibility and future proofing.
installation of Big Sky Technologies ‘Enabler Pro’ to main residence to provide farm wide connectivity
installation of Lora Gateway, and;
installation of repeaters
Tractor & Harvest Hardware: Machine data is currently controlled by the major Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and requires a costly subscription and inflexible software. This dynamic also limits most operations to single brand which may not fit the “best fit for purpose” approach. The current market practice to transfer data to and from machines to 3rd party users (Agronomist, Consultants, Ginners, Plant breeders etc) is a manual USB data transfer. The project will adopt a two-way data transfer device that will enable real time data transfer.
installation of two-way data transfer ‘Nibbler’ devices from Big Sky Technologies to tractors and spray rigs to enable geospatial data recording, tractor usage recording and data transfer capabilities for remote programmed variable rate maps, yield data processing & cotton RFID/Bale ID recording.
Founded by Tim & Peta Neale, DataFarming tackles challenges around Crop Recording & Soil on this project.
Crop Recording & Soil: Crop health requires both the visual and physical assessment to understand the plants reaction to environmental conditions. The approach is to assist management decisions by enabling the use of both visual data sets and physical climate recordings all linked to the one data set for easy consumption.
installation of probe and crop canopy sensors for in crop monitoring to enable accurate management decisions
installation of weather station to replicate BoM manual weather recording station for digital migration
high Resolution & Multi-Layer data STACK satellite imagery over the course of the project to provide geospatial agronomical tools
Geospatial Yield Data processing combined with integrated harvest hardware provided to contractors, and;
Electromagnetic (EM) Survey to provide soil data analysis and variable rate application data sets.
The project is expected to be completed by February 2021 and the outcomes will be shared at a Field Day.