Queensland dairy farmers will be able to use ‘smart collars’ to monitor the health of their cows through a Digital Transformation Grant from the Palaszczuk Government.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation (QDO) would receive $200,000 towards adopting digital animal health management systems for the industry.
“These grants were established under Queensland’s Economic Recovery Plan to help farmers to access new opportunities,” Mr Furner said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic created serious challenges for the agriculture sector, but the Palaszczuk Government has worked closely with industry to find solutions for emerging problems and stand shoulder to shoulder with our farmers.
“This is a direct and practical way the Palaszczuk Government is supporting the dairy industry as part of Queensland’s Economic Recovery Plan.”
QDO President Brian Tessmann said the grant will support a $646,880 digital herd monitoring project that will:
- provide financial assistance and support for 10 producers to implement the technology and establish producer demonstration sites where farmers can share learning and see the technology in action;
- deliver regional industry training workshops in the Darling Downs, Scenic Rim, Sunshine Coast, Burnett and Tablelands Region;
“This is a great advance in animal health and welfare for the dairy industry and a valuable tool for farmers as the technology monitors individual cows and the herd to provide health and reproduction alerts, allowing for the early detection of anything that may be making the animal uncomfortable,” Mr Tessmann said.
Minister Furner said a total of $5.5 million is being invested over three years through the Digital Transformation in Agribusiness Initiative.
“This funding, as part of our COVID-19 economic recovery strategy, will support agribusinesses to become digitally aware and ready to respond to future disruptions,” Mr Furner said.
“Digital technology creates new ways of doing things that add value to the agricultural sector by working more precisely, efficiently and sustainably.
“It offers innovative ways to connect producers to consumers, reduce problems related to remoteness in rural communities, and attract the next generation to jobs in the industry.”
Mr Furner said there was strong interest from industry in the first round of the Agribusiness Digital Solutions Grant Program.
“There were 22 applications and the diversity of project proposals demonstrates the opportunities digital technologies create for the sector,” he said.
“Under a co-investment model, grants of up to $200,000 were offered for projects that enhance digital skills, drive business efficiencies and create regional jobs across Queensland.
“The approved grants of $1.045 million are for projects that use a range of technologies including the Internet of Things, cloud computing, intelligent apps, big data, automation, artificial intelligence and sensors.”