A consortium of agricultural technology companies with the University of Sydney’s Institute for Agriculture is launching a project to unlock the University’s science for the use of Australia’s farmers.
The launch of Soil Tech Project, which coincided with the United Nations World Soil Day, will put decades of world-class soil research from the University directly into the hands of Australian farmers.
According to a recent report, the project is funded by A$ 1.1 million Landcare Smart Farming Partnership, which was awarded in June.
The three-year project will translate soil science research into free digital tools for use by farmers.
The Soil Tech Project led by Andrea Koch Agtech involves a collaborative partnership of agronomists from AGRIVision, scientists from the University and developers from the Australian agtech start-up, FarmLab.
This collaboration will produce a suite of six innovative digital soil management tools for land managers.
Agile development will be brought into the translation of existing science into practical digital tools for farmers.
This will be a big step forward in Australian agtech as the approach to be taken will demonstrate a new pathway for stranded science to be translated into action through agtech development.
Moreover, it will be supporting future research and innovation methods for Australian agriculture as a whole.
The digital soil management tools will include improved soil sampling techniques; better visualisation of available soil data; a farm-level weather forecasting application; and better soil management strategies.
These will help agronomists and land managers reduce the costs and time associated with soil management and crop production.
The Director of the Sydney Institute for Agriculture and Professor of Soil Science at the University shared how this will be a great project for them since they are working directly with the people who will use the science that their research has generated.
It is great to bring their expertise in soil informatics together with the agtech developers to deliver real impact for land managers.
This project will bring to life the methods that have been sitting in journals, unable to be used on farms, for decades.
The methods will now be accessible and useful to Australian farmers.
A team of agronomists will field-test the tools during development. The Soil Tech Project harnesses their passion for bringing the correct scientific solutions to agronomic decisions.
Using an action-research approach to document the process will guarantee that the tools meet the needs of the farmers using them.
Moreover, this will ensure that other universities, agtech companies, and research, development and extension organisations can learn from the collaboration and replicate it.
The team is keen to build a community of interest. It is looking for early adopters to field test the applications during the design process as well as when the applications are released.
More information on how to get in touch, and access to the tools as they are released is available here.