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New equipment for agriculture students

LONGERENONG College has received that last piece equipment under assistance from the Victorian Government.

Longerenong College General Manager John Goldsmith said that the agriculture college had received an airseeder in the last couple of weeks, just in time to get it operational for cropping season.

“We’ve started sowing and we’ve remapped all of our paddocks so we can align everything with our new equipment. The plan is now for controlled traffic farming, where you use the same wheel tracks so that you don’t cause any unnecessary compaction,” he said.

Longerenong’s 1070 hectare DATA farm will also feature a self-propelled boomspray, variable rate spreader, sensing equipment including a top soil mapper, grain bin sensors, and drones.

In partnership with Sydney-based technology company LX Group, the college will be supplied with moisture probes and weathers stations.

All of the data captured from the equipment, Mr Goldsmith said, will be live-streamed into the Innovation Centre, which is currently being refurbished in a section of the college’s library.

“The Innovation Centre is like a laboratory where we will be able to analyse all the data,” he said.

Mr Goldsmith is optimistic about the impact the new technology will have for farming in the region, which will allow students and farmers to witness first-hand the latest technology available.

“The whole concept of the DATA farm is to have somewhere where students and farmers can come and see all of this new technology in action because there is so much stuff out there in the marketplace at the moment which can be confusing,” Mr Goldsmith said.

“This will be a real-life working farm where people can come and see if it is suitable for their properties.”

Longerenong College student Miranda Rose, who is currently studying an Advanced Diploma in Agriculture Business Management and an Advanced diploma in Agronomy, said that the new equipment will help future students get a head start in the agriculture sector.

“It has given us an insight into the future of the agriculture industry,” she said.

“The exposure we are getting at Longerenong is a great way to give us a head-start in the industry and to see the use of technology.”

Currently completing her industry placement with Sparke Agriculture Associates in Horsham, Ms Rose noted that when she had been consulting with farmers in the district, some had been gravitating towards adopting new technology.

While COVID-19 has disrupted the college’s planning to get students using the DATA farm, Mr Goldsmith said that he hopes to have it integrated into the curriculum from the second semester.

“A lot of (the student’s) studies are via online at the moment but we really can’t wait to get the students back on campus where they can do all of their practical training.”