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Environment monitoring delivering benefits to farmers and suppliers across their value chain

Business and Enterprise

Posted on July 16, 2019

3 min read

Ensuring food availability for Australia’s future is a top national priority.  Making sure the country can feed itself well into the future is vital for our children and their children. When CSBP Fertilisers came to us with a desire to help their customers manage key resources in the growing of crops, we knew that our Internet of Things network could help.

Using more than 3.5 million square kilometres of coverage offered by our leading Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network, we’ve saved key water resources in Western Australia and helped keep costs down while freeing up time for patient care in Victorian hospitals. Bringing our leading IoT network and monitoring solutions to farmers for CSBP’s agricultural supply chain presented a fresh new challenge.

In partnership with Wesfarmers subsidiary CSBP Fertilisers, we wanted to apply the NB-IoT network and Telstra Environment Monitoring to remotely measure the volume of liquid fertiliser product, Flexi-N, stored in tanks on farms. CSBP was interested in finding a cost-effective way to implement this technology. We were able to work with them to develop a commercially viable approach.

Together we developed a solution that uses technology to collect data on the levels of fertiliser in the tanks and can alert CSBP when levels are low so the resupply process can commence automatically. More than 150 of our Telstra Captis Environment Monitoring IoT sensors were quickly deployed onto tanks around Western Australia, with 26 growers taking part in the pilot during the 2019 growing season.

Before the deployment of IoT sensors, CSBP’s challenge in managing its supply chain was the sporadic and manual nature of orders coming from farmers. They needed to be able to meet the demand for fertiliser and reduce lead times to supply the fertiliser during peak periods. In order to remain competitive, CSBP wanted to offer farmers an automated solution that removes the need for them to manually read fertiliser level readings on a tank gauge then telephone CSBP to order another load of fertiliser.

The company is now looking at a further deployment for this tank measuring solution to be used in water tanks, diesel tanks and weather stations across Western Australia.

The way we have adapted the standards of its NB-IoT network specifically for extended coverage for solutions in more regional areas is one of the reasons why we have just won a prestigious industry award.

Together with technology partner Ericsson, we are honoured to have been recognised at this year’s GSMA Asia Mobile Awards with its ‘Best IoT Innovation for Mobile Networks in Asia Award’ for this deployment. The Telstra IoT Network is one of the largest in the world and we are the only carrier in Australia to offer both Cat-M1 and Narrowband IoT technology. Our customers can now connect a range of IoT solutions in more places than ever before on Australia’s largest, most reliable and most secure ready-built LPWA Network. Our work with CSBP Fertilisers has proven NB-IoT network technology and devices are a modern and cost-effective way to optimise the efficiency of agriculture operations and supply chains.