Satellite tech helps farmers struggling with labour shortages

Ground-breaking Adelaide satellite technology backed by former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is poised to help farmers tackle widespread labour shortages by reducing the need for intensive manual stock water checks.

Oct 10, 2022, updated Jan 31, 2024
Cattle in drought. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Cattle in drought. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

South Australian pioneering satellite communication company Myriota has joined forces with water pump manufacturer Grundfos Australia to build and sell the unique solar-powered and satellite-connected system that allows farmers to remotely monitor water pumps and water tanks.

It is a timely product release for the two companies, as 34,000 livestock farmers across the nation struggle with chronic labour shortages.

The platform is designed to save time, fuel and labour where farm and station workers have to regularly check water levels and pumps to ensure stock have vital access to a drink.

Myriota designed and manufactures the satellite connectivity component of the system in Australia. The company is based at Lot Fourteen in Adelaide and its investors included Malcolm Turnbull, Boeing Horizon-X and the CSIRO’s venture capital unit, Main Sequence Capital.

“This is highly transformational,” Myriota chief executive officer Ben Cade said. “What is very exciting is that this is an SA-based company delivering solutions to global companies.”

Grundfos Australia is also headquartered in Adelaide. Its global parent company has more than 19,000 employees.

The platform works by using Myriota’s satellite-connected sensors that are attached to Grundfos’s European-manufactured solar-powered water pumps, so farmers can then use a mobile app to track water levels with 12 updates daily.

Ten of the new water pumps are now in operation at trial sites across North Queensland, Northern Territory and regional New South Wales.

Cade said the partnership offered serious growth potential for Myriota, a company developed as a spin-off from the University of Sout Australia in 2015 and now employs 50 staff.

Myriota has contracts in other sectors to provide affordable access to data anywhere using advanced, direct-to-satellite technology. It has expanded to have teams in Europe and North America and is now moving into Latin America.

The company has a network of 20 small satellites orbiting the earth about 15 times a day, with Cade saying this meant the most remote water pumps would have affordable connectivity and monitoring.

InDaily in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

“If you just look in Australia, there are 34,000 different livestock farmers: they have more than a million water pump and tank systems,” Cade said. “That’s a huge opportunity to develop volume.

“Globally, the figure is in the tens of millions.”

He said the companies would pursue opportunities to sell the platform to farmers in Argentina, Brazil and Africa, along with North and South America.

In September last year, Myriota was awarded a $5.48 million contract with the Australian Defence Force’s Innovation Hub to expand its Internet of Military Things (IoMT) solution.

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InDaily.
All rights reserved.