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PLF Australia

PLF Australia

PLF Australia (Precision Livestock Farming) was established to design and deliver ‘best-of-breed’ sensor-based automation and real time management information for agricultural operations.

The use of sensor technology to monitor farm performance and to control systems remotely has until recently been expensive and largely proprietary – meaning vendors tend to lock in farmers to their solutions and leaving the farmer with little option but to continue to pay for legacy systems and services.

PLF Australia (PLF) is of the view that the evolution of technology to an Internet of Things (IoT) approach is going to continue to grow and expand, breaking down proprietary structures in all industries, including in the farming sector which is one of the last to benefit from this new ubiquitous situation.

Farm management today involves considerable time for farmers to travel their property checking their fences, stock/crops, water supplies, vehicle location and so on. These activities can take hours to days, and so intervention when problems are detected is often slow. In addition, livestock and crop growth and profitability can be compromised through a lack of real time information.

Examples of the information that can be captured in real time include water levels and flow, soil moisture, temperature and salinity, on-farm weather, GPS positioning of vehicles and equipment and animal identification, location, weight and overall wellbeing.

Connectivity is a key to the transfer of sensor-based data to the internet and then presented as management information to the farmer on their PC or mobile device. While connectivity across farms is a major issue, it is not insurmountable. PLF has found that LoRaWAN can overcome most situations, due to its long range (over 15 kms), its ability to connect over difficult torrain, and connect to many and varied devices and only requiring a single point of cellular connectivity for backhaul. However, PLF has included NB-IoT and even satellite as an edge technology.

With PLF's management information and notifications of issues, the farmer can act quickly to mitigate problems before they become serious, as well as making more informed management decisions on activities that will foster growth and minimise costs.

PLF delivers to the farmer a 'systems' view of their property with sensors installed, measuring water levels and flow, soil moisture content and temperature, on-farm weather, accumulating information on animals’ growth and crop development, along with other critical information that can raise productivity and reduce costs.