Weather: IOT transforming food industry’s traditional most unpredictable variance

Wiley’s Commercial Technology Director, Brett Wiskar and Digital PR & Communications Manager, Rachael Hedges recently attended the IFE Grand Challenge Lecture: Transforming Farming and Food Systems with Digital Technology at QUT by Ros Harvey (Adjunct Professor, QUT; Founder, The Yield). At Wiley we love sharing knowledge from events with our network to help us all reach peak performance and ensure our global food security into the future.

Agricultural productivity has not increased in decades, but the challenge has never been greater. Data, BIM and the Internet of Things (IoT) are providing new waves of findings through technology advancements and the food processing industry is set to benefit. There are currently 50B devices connected, making it a 14.9T opportunity worldwide.

Ros Harvey shared practical experience in using digital technology in food value chains to grow a successful business and super-charge research through defining business challenges, giving access to unprecedented real-time and high quality data, and providing a pathway to rapid commercialisation.

The Yield

Weather: where the big IOT impacts can be found
One of the major uncertainties for agriculture and food production is weather. It is impossible to predict at a tactical level and can have large and unfortunate consequences. Digital technology can and is being used to help bridge this gap.

With assistance from The Yield, producer Barila Bay Oysters are utilising technology to maximise operational outcomes and limit downtime caused by environmental factors. Previously oyster farmers were forced to place their harvesting on hold for extended periods due to rainfall causing runoff in the waters of their operations which posed a health risk to consumer. The innovative Pittwater Bay farmers are now using IoT devices to measure water salinity and quality to ensure the standard, and importantly, the safety of their oysters in real time. The real time data means the farmers are able to harvest for more days in the year and when they do have to place harvesting on hold the periods are shorter than ever before. This means a greater and more consistent revenue stream for the operation with losses reduced by as much as 30%.

Another producer investing in similar technology is Houston Farms in Tasmania, who have had thousands of sensors installed to optimise production. The sensors wirelessly connect measuring temperature, humidity, soil moisture, leaf wetness and solar radiation. Early estimates show waste from overproduction can be reduced by 20%, water costs by 25% and poor disease spraying losses can be halved.

Professor Harvey’s three top tips for data use:
– Once the basis of the data is right the virtual and physical world can be best bridged
– You are only as good as your data
– Build a system that is accurate, reliable and scalable

Interested in how the Internet of Things and data can improve your production? Talk to Brett Wiskar.

Brett Whiskar- Wiley

Check out some of the online conversation below and at #IFEGCL