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South Australia fights agricultural pests with cutting edge technology

South Australian researchers have developed a new state-of-the-art weapon in the fight against agricultural pests, according to a recent press release.

Launched recently, the AU$ 21 million iMapPESTS utilised South Australian research, engineering and software expertise.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone shared that South Australia continues to look to technology to address challenges in agriculture.

About the technology

The iMapPESTS Sentinel is ground breaking technology developed and led by researchers from the South Australian Research and Development Institute in conjunction with local businesses: an automation company and a data management company.

The project is part of AU$ 21 million Commonwealth Government initiative led by Horticulture Innovation with support from 17 partner organisations across a broad range of industries from grains to viticulture, and horticulture to forestry.

The iMapPESTS Sentinel is a key element in a national project to provide greater data to producers in order to combat pests and diseases.

It combines specialised air sampling equipment and automation technology in a single high-tech mobile surveillance unit.

It features smart automation applied to trapping equipment, sourced from project partners in the United Kingdom, purpose-built to capture airborne spores and insects.

The Sentinel is an outstanding example of AgTech created by South Australian researchers and tech businesses designed to strengthen farmers’ ability to better manage pests, with the goal of improving productivity to meet growth targets.

The automation company’s CEO shared that their control system automates and controls the Sentinel itself. Their best engineering automation expertise was brought to the project.

How does it work?

The Sentinel is self-contained, and while carrying highly sensitive instrumentation and technology, has to be robust to endure the elements out on site for weeks at a time.

Sensors were built to automatically retract a six-metre insect trap and safely pack away the device when severe weather is detected.

After which, the system extends the trap to resume operation when high winds have calmed.

Robotic systems were developed on each device in the Sentinel. They are controlled by an on-board computer that enables intelligent sampling according to pre-set parameters.

These parameters are:

  1. Time
  2. Temperature
  3. Humidity
  4. Wind speed
  5. Direction

Significance of data management

The data management company’s Research Director explained that the management of the samples and data, after collection, was critical.

The Sentinel’s data needs to be identifiable, trackable, and then accessible for useful analyses.

Digital transformation is the use of new, fast and frequently changing digital technology to solve problems such as Hybrid Cloud for Digital Transformation.

The cloud-based platform that Data Effects has developed for the Sentinel iMapPESTS project has benefits.

It allows for data about physical samples, and virtual samples of on-farm conditions, including spores to climatic environmental data, to be barcoded and traceable through every step.

Data can then be securely transferred from the field to the laboratory and on to farmers and land managers.

The field data of Sentinel can be combined with lab data as well as data from third parties such as other project partners or the Bureau of Meteorology.

Doing so will allow them to pull together a rich data resource from which they can produce accessible outputs such as graphs and dashboards.

PARTNER

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PARTNER

CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

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SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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