In cropping and horticultural sectors, real time monitoring of nutrients offers to potentially identify inefficiency in any given system and subsequently gives useful information for optimising inputs and resources to maximise productions and protect the environment from pollutants. In sensitive catchments, such as the Great Barrier Reef, reducing nutrient leaching and sediment run-off will be of high importance to achieving term environmental and production sustainability. The “Digital remote monitoring to improve horticulture’s environmental performance” project established four demonstration ‘smart farms’ in the Great Barrier Reef catchment area, covering banana, vegetable, macadamia and nursery sectors.
To provide the data for decision making, a range of sensors were installed. With the ability to monitor the weather (through the use of a SNiP-AWS5+), the soil moisture content, and surface water runoff, the sensor and infrastructure provide detailed data on the conditions.
Surface water runoff sensors used include:
The soil moisture sensors provide real time information on deep-drainage and potential nitrate leeching to groundwater.
Infrastructure installed in support of the sensing system included:
To bring the data to the decision makers, CATM1 connected IoT nodes were used to transmit the data to the Hitachi Vantara dashboard.
The ICT International MFR-NODE is connected to the nitrate and flume sensors, reading the sensors at 10 minute intervals. Using the local cellular network, this data is transmitted to Microsoft Azure, for subsequent display in the Hitachi Vantara dashboard. This dashboard provides a remote monitoring console to integrate the farm data and produce information useful to growers and the broader horticulture industry.