Smarter irrigation for profit

The Smarter Irrigation for Profit project, funded under round one of the Rural R&D for Profit programme, brings together the cotton, rice, dairy and sugar industries to improve water use efficiency, automation and profits.

It is an ambitious scheme, aiming to improve returns by $20,000 to $40,000 a year per farm. The project will integrate soil moisture sensing, weather forecasts, and remote irrigation controls with the irrigation technologies and research from different industries.

The project is led by the Cotton Research and Development Corporation, with Dairy Australia, Sugar Research Australia and the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation in addition to 13 other partners. The partners have together invested just over $6 million in cash and in-kind contributions and the government has provided a $4 million grant. It embodies the focus on research collaboration to deliver innovative business solutions. The project will conclude in 2018 and you can follow its progress at #SmarterIrrigation.

Targeting growth in the Hunter Region

Regional Development Australia (RDA) Hunter is embracing innovation and research to grow their region’s international competitiveness.

Applying ‘smart specialisation’— a framework for innovation endorsed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and widely implemented across the European Union — RDA Hunter is combining current areas of expertise with new opportunities to drive the global competiveness of the Hunter’s economy. This strategy will enable Hunter stakeholders to identify and prioritise the region’s key sectors (for example, defence and manufacturing) and develop innovation activities to grow these sectors further.

Meanwhile, RDA Hunter’s ME Program is linking industry needs with schools and tertiary institutions to increase STEM participation in the region to above the NSW average for students at the HSC level.

The Australian Government supports a network of 55 RDAs across the country to enhance economic development opportunities and foster effective communication between communities, business and all three tiers of government.