Grants to bolster precision ag in Mallee

GRAIN growers in Victoria’s Wimmera Mallee region are set to benefit from the Victorian Government’s $60,000 investment towards the Birchip Cropping Group’s new precision agriculture technology that will increase productivity and profitability.
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Alex Paull

Victorian Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford made the announcement on 3 February while on a mixed farming enterprise in Murra Warra in the state’s west.

The grant has been provided through the Victorian Government’s $20 million Food Source Victoria program, which supports food producers and businesses working together to grow exports and create new jobs.

Birchip Cropping Group will deliver the $90,000 project as part of their efforts to empower grain growers to better utilise digital technologies and analytics that are transforming the agricultural industry.

“This time last year we were standing in the Wimmera looking down the barrel at drought. This year is a different story – we have a bumper crop and positive outlook for our grain growers,” Pulford said.

“Farmers know that there’s been a big drop in rainfall and that the next dry spell might not be far away and that’s why we’re working with BCG to help more farmers use new technology and better adapt to a variable climate.”

“Farmers in this region are achieving results their grandfathers could have only dreamt of. We support them with research and development in times of drought and we share their success in the good times.”   

The project is set to increase the understanding of data management and the uptake of precision agricultural technologies in the region through three components:

  • Identifying the potential for more farmers to use precision agriculture and grow their businesses
  • The development of a working model to demonstrate how ‘farm data’ can benefit growers
  • Specialist workshops involving a pilot group of farmers to identify the benefits and challenges around farm data management

The project has the potential to be implemented across the Wimmera Mallee region, which would in turn benefit grain growers and associated businesses by adding value of up to $125 per hectare, growing exports to premium markets in Japan and China, and create new jobs.

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