Grass-roots technology to assist farmers

Grass-roots technology to assist farmers

A PARTNERSHIP between BayCity and Telecom NZ is bringing farming into the 21st century with the Farmside Remote Monitoring Service (RMS).

The application service collects information from sites around a farm before being stored, interpreted and managed on Telecom’s servers and network. It is then delivered back to the farmer via broadband to a mobile phone, PDA or notebook.

Timaru-based BayCity developed the underlying technology, M3 - monitor, measure and manage, that allows farmers to see what is happening around their farm at any given time.

Managing director Barry Payne says RMS is the key to productivity gains, risk management and compliance requirements.

Payne points out the sensors - which feature a solar power option - can record a wide variety of data depending on what the farmer deems most critical.

“Anything really: weather, water pressure, soil temperature, volume in tanks and silos - the system is compatible.”

Aside from its research and development focus, BayCity also resells Telecom’s Xtra broadband, wireless and Farmside satellite broadband services to the rural sector.

Payne says Farmside is the first to market with the M3 service but he anticipates other service providers will offer it in the future.

“This is a very affordable service for farmers and anything that can save time and provide good decision-making information is a valuable tool,” he says.

He says the service has been extensively trialled and evaluated for the last two years and has several trial sites on the go in Australia.

Payne believes the technology has the potential to completely change the way farms are managed and says a developer toolkit is available for third-party use.

“It’s a very exciting business and shows that world-leading technology can be fertilised and grown in Timaru.”

Victoria Crone, Telecom consumer marketing manager, says Farmside RMS demonstrates how telecommunications can deliver a tangible return on investment for agriculture.

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