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Connectivity revolution for more farmers than ever with nbn

Ryan Robb and Bryton Wishart, from QLD company Cured Compliance. Picture supplied
Ryan Robb and Bryton Wishart, from QLD company Cured Compliance. Picture supplied

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While some agriculture sectors have been using GPS mapping, sensors to monitor moisture levels in the soil, and online livestock auctions and commodity trading for years, the prevalence of new and emerging technologies is continuing to drive the world of agriculture forward.

And these technologies can only stimulate change when underpinned by high performing connectivity.

"Connectivity is the baseline for having conversations about on-farm tech," nbn executive manager, health and agriculture, Robert Hardie said.

"You can't have a conversation about using digital technologies to enhance production, streamline operations or anything else without understanding your connectivity needs."

Upgrades underway to the nbn network aim to help more farmers across regional Australia to adapt and integrate new technologies to supercharge their farm operations and productivity.

"We've seen an avocado farm outside Bundaberg in Queensland benefit from nbn ®Fixed Wireless upgrades to help enable the connection of real-time monitoring equipment across the property for more efficient farm operations."

"When using satellite connectivity, farmers in more remote or rural locations can use extending technologies to increase the reach of their home-based nbn Sky Muster connection to their shed, water points, cattle yards and other on-farm locations. We see this used to improve communication at these locations for remote monitoring and on-farm safety."

Robert also said real-time data connection is also allowing online admin tasks to be completed while out in the field.

"A grain grower can buy or sell grain while they're out in the paddock or a livestock producer can be bidding for stock online while they're down the paddock fixing fences.

"It's requiring producers to think more about digital connectivity to access connectivity beyond the farmgate."

Connection also impacts the workforce side of farming by keeping workers connected and safe while on the job but also offering them a quality connection for after work if they live on farm.

"We're seeing some amazing examples of innovation right across the industry too," Robert said.

Gympie-based butcher, Ryan Robb, and his business partner, Bryton Wishart, have developed technology through their company, Cured Compliance, to support a paperless butchery, harnessing the power of their nbn network connection to support both real time monitoring of food storage temperatures and the simultaneous sharing of that data with regulators.

While nbn is working to get better broadband to homes and businesses across regional Australia, boosting that signal across the farm is another aspect for farmers to look at.

"Farmers can invest in equipment to increase reach and range of signal with some devices that can be deployed onto four-wheel drives which connect back to the main house connection via a tower," Robert said.

When it comes to farm connectivity and technology upgrades Robert's advice is to research options, seek advice from different people, ask questions and be curious but don't become indecisive.

"There isn't one solution for all, it's best to decide what is needed for your business at the time and be prepared to be flexible, because there might be a better solution available in the future," Robert said.

"I'd encourage any farmers with questions about on-farm connectivity to reach out to the independent groups like the Regional Tech Hub for advice about their connection."