Third generation farmers: Luke Bowman and his two sons at their farm at Barraba NSW. Photo: Supplied

Third generation farmers: Luke Bowman and his two sons at their farm at Barraba NSW. Photo: Supplied

How the Internet of Things saved thousands of litres of water for Red Hill Farm

How the Internet of Things saved thousands of litres of water for Red Hill Farm

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A few months ago, a NSW farmer and his family came close to losing thousands of litres of water due to an overflowing trough. The one thing that saved them from this disaster was the Internet of Things.

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This is sponsored content for Farmdeck.

A few months ago, a NSW farmer and his family came close to losing thousands of litres of water due to an overflowing trough. The one thing that saved them from this disaster was the Internet of Things.

Red Hill Farm is located in Barraba, NSW, a region deeply affected by the drought after two years without rain, from 2017 to 2019.

Red Hill Farm owner Luke Bowman and his family have been in the region for more than 100 years and are third-generation farmers.

Luke is now preparing to hand over his 2,400-hectare farm to his three sons and sees technology as a way to optimise the farm and their practices before passing it on to the next generation.

One of the challenges the Bowman family hoped to address with technology was water monitoring. Luke felt that the way they had been operating was inefficient and could be improved with technology.

To sustain their 700 breeding cows, the farm has eight water tanks, and up to 50 active troughs at any given time. To ensure utilised paddocks have enough water and there are no leaks, a daily water run was required. This task was estimated to take roughly two hours out of their morning.

To solve their water monitoring challenge, Red Hill farm turned to an Internet of Things (IoT) farm management solution, Farmdeck, which was launched into the market this month and aims to help farmers increase their efficiency while reducing their costs.

Farmdeck works with LoRa technology, which allows the data to travel from the sensors all the way to the application on Luke's mobile despite the low connectivity on the farm.

Farmdeck is composed of sensors installed in the various water tanks and troughs. These sensors are connected to a gateway while the data collected is hosted in the cloud. The data is then accessible via Farmdeck's app.

The alert that saved a tank of water

One of the features of the system was an alert that would raise the alarm in the case of any changes.

"I received an alert on my phone that let me know one of our tanks' level was decreasing at an unusual rate," Luke said. "With Farmdeck I was able to quickly verify the tank that was affected."

Jumping on his quadbike he was able to immediately find the cause of the dropping levels - a nearby overflowing water trough.

"The quick alert meant we were able to fix the problem before it became a larger issue. It not only allowed us to save time, and conserve thousands of litres of water, but it also meant we didn't have to spend days relocating livestock," he said.

Peace of mind: Smart technology is helping Luke Bowman save time and reduce the pressure of farm management.

Peace of mind: Smart technology is helping Luke Bowman save time and reduce the pressure of farm management.

The water level monitoring solution has also automated one of Luke's instrumental and time-consuming daily tasks, the water run, and eased some of the pressure of running his farm.

"In the morning I can just get up, check all my tanks on the app and be satisfied that everything is running well and that just gives us peace of mind. It takes out that hour and a half to two hours of doing a water run every day."

Red Hill Farm is just one of several farms in NSW and Victoria that the team of farmers and engineers behind Farmdeck have been working with for the past four years developing and improving their product before its launch.

These partnerships were aimed at helping them understand the features which would add the most value in the day-to-day management of farms while allowing the customers to benefit from the tailor-made solutions that Farmdeck delivers. As well as management of water tanks, troughs, dams and rain gauges it also offers features like a rollover alert if a quadbike or motorbike turns over, electric fence monitoring, livestock tracking and video surveillance.

About Farmdeck

Farmdeck was founded in Australia in 2016 by a team of farmers and engineers from Outcomex, a successful technology company operating in Australia since 2006. Since the foundation of Farmdeck the team has ensured that all features and sensors are field tested at their testing farm in Bathurst. For more information and to find out about Farmdeck's free trial offer you can email sales@farmdeck.com or head to the website.

This is sponsored content for Farmdeck.

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