SMART Farm Innovation Centre
'Our farming future starts today.'
The University of New England (UNE) has a long record of effective, high impact and world-class education in science as well as environmental, agronomic and animal sciences.
UNE has transformed 'Kirby-Newholme', a 2,900 ha commercial farm located 10 km north west of the campus, into a SMART Farm (Sustainable Manageable Accessible Rural Technologies Farm). Kirby-Newholme is part of the university's Armidale commercial farms. The SMART Farm Innovation Centre showcases the latest technologies aimed at improving productivity, environmental sustainability, safety, workflow and social/business support networks on Australian farms.
About the facilities
The SMART Farm Innovation Centre (SFIC) is located in the middle of the University's SMART Farms. Linked via AARNet and the national broadband network (fibre, terrestrial wireless AND satellite) the predominantly grazing SMART Farm is a national demonstrator site.
The SFIC also serves as a research, education and outreach facility not only for the SMART Farms itself but for UNE-led global advances in agriculture research and development. Hosting the university's Precision Agriculture Research Group, the SFIC includes a farm 'Command Centre', visitor and teaching space with a 52 seat seminar room and offices. Enhanced ICT and AV infrastructure and technologies give students and visiting researchers access to, as well as hands-on experience with, modern technologies that aim to revolutionise the way farms are managed.
Following the completion of the building in March 2015, the $2 million SFIC was officially opened by Federal Agriculture Minister Hon. Barnaby Joyce.
Building on the university's international leadership in Precision Agriculture, Education, Rural Health and Environmental and Rural Science, SMART Farm Innovation Centre also serves as an 'instrumented' research laboratory, a diagnostic landscape unmatched anywhere else in the world.
A connected classroom
With broadband connectivity, and serving as a test-site for new technologies, the SFIC is a connected classroom where the community as well as students of all ages can access the latest data streaming in from a range of field, animal and machinery sensors.
If you'd like to learn more about the UNE SFIC, or if you are interested in deploying technologies on the farm or in supporting this initiative some other way, please contact Dr Rachelle Hergenhan.