CQUniversity has welcomed Federal Government support to develop a proposed AgTech precinct in Bundaberg.
Led by the university’s Institute for Future Farming Systems, the precinct will lead and facilitate industry collaboration between researchers, producers and technology developers.
Hinkler MP Keith Pitt today announced a $5 million contribution from the Regional Deal at Agrotrend.
CQUniversity’s Associate Vice-Chancellor Luke Sinclair said the AgTech precinct would develop capacity, opportunity and entrepreneurship to benefit agricultural industries.
“The funding will be directed towards the establishment of a precinct that will form a regional network to test and develop new ag technology, including data logging and big data application,” he said.
“As well as university staff working on the data and developing a public interface, research staff will work with farmers and agtech developers to identify, develop and test technology solutions aimed at improving productivity within the ag industry.
“The establishment of this precinct has the potential to create not just local impact but impact across Australia and the world.
“We look forward to working with all levels of government and industry to establish this precinct and establish the Bundaberg region as a leader in AgTech innovation.”
AgTech precinct applies smart farm concept
Mr Pitt said the AgTech precinct would take the smart farm concept and apply it to commercial farms in the region to test and adopt new agricultural technology.
“The Bundaberg region is the largest macadamia growing region in the country, with substantial sugarcane crops as well as avocado, sweet potato, chilli and watermelon farms, so it’s a perfect place for new technology to be developed,” he said.
“A number of farms in the electorate will be equipped with sensor arrays – for example soil moisture arrays for vegetable cropping or automated fruit fly trays for fruit tree crops – weather stations and network infrastructure and that data will be collected.
“This data will then be analysed and available for public and commercial use, which will have huge benefits for all local growers.
“Being able to share this type of data will help with planting, the environment and pest management.”
Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey said the Council would support an AgTech precinct through identifying locations and assisting with infrastructure.
“Council will also look to partner with the Australian Government and CQUniversity in the management of the facility through its early inception and establishment phases,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“I look forward to seeing our region grow through smart investments that leverage our region's natural strength in agriculture and capacity for innovation.”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has previously indicated the Labor Party will honour the Regional Deal if it wins the election on 18 May.
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