The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2018-12-20T01:24:11Z Neoen’s Hornsdale Power Reserve to deliver new and additional cost savings for South Australians from December 2018 2018-12-20T01:24:11Z neoen-s-hornsdale-power-reserve-to-deliver-new-and-additional-cost-savings-for-south-australians-from-december-2018 -- South Australians set to save millions of dollars in electricity bills thanks to a newly developed System Integrity Protection Scheme  -- The new scheme will contribute to enabling AEMO to raise the import limit on the Heywood interconnector from 600 MW up to 650 MW, following a review of results from a recent test  -- These new cost reductions are in addition to the $40 million annual FCAS savings documented in the latest Aurecon report   Neoen (ISIN Code: FR0011675362, ticker: NEOEN), one of the fastest-growing leading independent producer of exclusively renewable energy worldwide, has unveiled that its Hornsdale Power Reserve (HPR) is set to deliver millions of dollars per year in new and additional cost savings for South Australians from late-December 2018. The latest development comes off the back of a successful newly developed System Integrity Protection Scheme (SIPS) test, which will contribute to enabling the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to lift its import limit on the SA-VIC Heywood Interconnector from 600 MW up to 650 MW.  SIPS are increasingly utilised in energy systems around the world to provide additional power transfer capacity and enhanced operational security. HPR contributes to AEMO’s and ElectraNet’s SIPS, which reduces the chance of the Heywood Interconnector overloading when multiple generators disconnect within South Australia.  The new SIPS, which is contributed by HPR free of charge, is specifically designed to further support electrical interconnectors between South Australia and other states. The capacity limits on interconnectors are set below the physical limit because of system stability issues – the SIPS increases system stability, allowing capacity limits to be lifted.  At its core, the new interconnection limit will bolster competition within the South Australian electricity market by increasing interstate trade. This reduces wholesale power prices and subsequently creates a knock-on effect on end-user charges across the state.  Anticipated cost savings are in the millions of dollars per year. This is in addition to the reduction of close to $40 million in the Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS) market by increased competition and the removal of 35 MW local FCAS constraint, as reported in the independent study by Aurecon released during the first-year anniversary of the battery earlier in December.  Franck Woitiez, Managing Director for Neoen Australia, said, “Over the past year, Neoen has worked tirelessly with Tesla, AEMO, ElectraNet and the South Australian government, to improve and expand the capability of our Hornsdale Power Reserve for the benefit of energy consumers across the state. The new HPR-SIPS is a direct result of this collaboration. It is another prime example of how innovative, forward-looking and advanced renewable energy technology, when combined with storage, has the power to significantly drive down electricity prices for consumers across the country.”  Woitiez added, “These savings are just the beginning of what is to come with the planned new large interconnector between South Australia and New South Wales.”  Located near Jamestown, South Australia, the HPR is the world’s largest lithium-ion battery energy storage system. Owned and operated by Neoen, the battery is supplied by Tesla and was built to stabilise the South Australian electricity grid, facilitate integration of renewable energy in the state, and help avoid load-shedding (i.e. blackout) events.  The fully operational site has a discharge capacity of 100 MW and energy storage capacity of 129 MWh, and shares the same 275 kV network connection point as the 317 MW Hornsdale Wind Farm. About Neoen Founded in 2008, Neoen is France’s leading and one of the world’s most dynamic independent producers (IPP) of renewable energy. With a current capacity of more than 2 GW already in operation or under construction, and a further 1 GW of projects formally awarded and secured, Neoen has doubled its size in over just 18 months. Having its headquarters in France, Neoen has subsidiaries in Australia, El Salvador, Zambia, Jamaica, Portugal, Mexico, Finland and Argentina and has projects in more than 15 geographies. It operates Europe’s most powerful solar PV farm (300 MW in Cestas, France) and the world’s largest lithium-ion power reserve in Hornsdale, Australia (100 MW/129 MWh storage capacity). At the end of 2017, Neoen won one of the largest (375 MW) and the most competitive solar project in Mexico. Neoen is targeting 5 GW capacity in operation and under construction by 2021. Neoen (ISIN Code: FR0011675362, ticker: NEOEN) is listed since October 2018 on the Compartment A of the regulated market of Euronext Paris.  For more information: http://www.neoen.com  Media Contacts   Red Agency  Daphne Chuah  daphne.chuah@redagency.com.au  Havas Paris  Hugo Boussier hugo.boussier@havas.com  Neoen  Axelle Vuillermet axelle.vuillermet@neoen.com  Don’t let your Yuletide joy turn sour… How to cook the Christmas ‘bird’ safely 2018-12-19T21:00:00Z dont-let-your-yuletide-joy-turn-sour-how-to-cook-the-christmas-bird-safely-1 Chook Chat Blog – Don’t let your Yuletide joy turn sour… How to cook the Christmas ‘bird’ safely To keep you informed please see a link to this month's 'Chook Chat', the blog for the Australian Chicken Meat Industry, and a post by Deputy Executive Director Dr Kylie Hewson. This month's blog takes a timely look at cooking the Christmas ‘bird’ safely. In previous blogs we’ve emphasised the importance of adhering to the key food safety principles of ‘clean, chill, cook, separate’(see infographic here https://bit.ly/2QCwsfc) in ensuring your chicken handling skills in the kitchen are up to scratch and that your roast chook doesn’t make you crook – but how does this relate to preparing a Christmas turkey? The bacteria that may be present on raw turkey are basically the same as those that may be found on raw chicken, so the general food safety tips still apply, but the size difference between turkeys and chickens means there are some nuances to preparing your roast turkey. The direct link to the post is https://bit.ly/2PLye8n or visit the Chook Chat blog on www.chicken.org.au. Blog updates are also communicated via the ACMF twitter channel (@ACMFchicken). About the ACMF The Australian Chicken Meat Federation (ACMF) is the peak body of Australia’s chicken meat industry, representing both growers and processors. Its members are the five State Chicken Meat Councils (NSW, VIC, QLD, SA and WA), the Australian Chicken Growers’ Council and the Australian Poultry Industries Association. Its blog 'Chook Chat' is aimed at providing an insight into the way the chicken industry does things and why – it is not intended to promote products, but to provide the facts. For more information about Australian Chicken Meat Federation, visithttp://www.chicken.org.au/ Media inquiries contact: Quay Communications, Emma Norgrove, M:0499 688 001, T:02 9386 9161,emma@quaycommunications.com.au Prime Minister’s Environmentalist of the Year set to MC National Clean Technologies Conference 2018-12-12T21:29:13Z prime-minister-s-environmentalist-of-the-year-set-to-mc-national-clean-technologies-conference The Prime Minister’s Environmentalist of the Year and leading sustainable business expert Arron Wood has been announced as the MC of the National Clean Technologies Conference due to take place from 29 - 31 May 2019 on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Building on the success of The Cleantech Effect event, run by the Sunshine Coast Council in 2016 and 2017, the National Clean Technologies Conference & Exhibition is expected to be bigger than ever in 2019 with more than 70 keynote and industry speakers and 50 exhibitors – and will attract more than 250 delegates from across Australia. Conference director Peta Moore of Nectar Creative Communications says they are thrilled to have confirmed Arron Wood, who is also the Deputy Mayor of the City of Melbourne as the MC given he has a successful business within the cleantech industry, has won multiple awards for his work, and is a leading commentator on cleantech related topics. “Arron is at the pulse of what makes Melbourne the world's most liveable city. Apart from being the City of Melbourne's Deputy Lord Mayor, his insight and ability to identify emerging green markets and risks to existing markets, and the fact he has his own environmental communication and education consultancy business, Firestarter Pty Ltd, made him a natural choice as MC,” says event organiser Peta Moore of Nectar Creative Communications. Wood says he has heard a lot about the Sunshine Coast and is excited to check out the ‘Cleantech Capital’ of Australia. “The clean tech sector is something I’m really passionate about and I am thrilled I can be involved and am keen to visit and meet with the industry leaders and change makers in such an exciting, emerging region as well as MC a world class program of international drawcard speakers on all clean technology growth areas including energy, waste, water, built environment,” he says. Wood is on the high level Enterprise Melbourne Advisory Board to attract sustainable investment to Melbourne, won the 2007 Melbourne Business Award for Contribution to the Environment and was also the 2001 Young Australian of the Year (National Environment Winner). He is the weekly environment reporter on radio 3AW, Melbourne's number one talkback station, and the author of an autobiography Billabong Boy. His business Firestarter Pty Ltd, working through behavioural change management, major event organisation, project management, education campaigns and innovative company promotion methods aims to better link the corporate sector with community and government. He also initiated and now runs the highly successful Kids Teaching Kids Program for students from around the world.The full program for the event is set to be revealed in early 2019. Registrations for exhibitors are now open at: https://nctce.com.au/exhibition/become-an-exhibitor/. A limited number of early bird tickets are now also available at https://nctce.com.au/. ENDS For interviews and photos email pr@thecreativecollective.com.au or call Yvette Adams of The Creative Collective on 07 545 11315 or 0405 022 977. EDITORS NOTES BIO FOR ARRON WOOD Arron is the Deputy Lord Mayor of the City of Melbourne.  Seven times the World's Most Liveable city. Named in the top ten education leaders nationally as part of The Weekend Australian Magazine, Prime Minister’s Environmentalist of the Year Award-winner Arron Wood grew up in Mildura, Victoria spending his early years campaigning to save the River Murray. Rather aptly titled his autobiography ‘Billabong Boy’ was inspired by those early years.  Arron is an expert in sustainability and his company won the Victorian Telstra News Ltd Micro Business of the Year. He is founder of the award-winning education program Kids Teaching Kids that has seen over 125,000 students participate in the peer education model since 1999 and was the 3AW environment reporter for many years. Arron is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and was Chair of the 2017 World Ecocity Summit Advisory Board. His Kids Teaching Kids Program won the prestigious 2010 People’s Choice Banksia Award chosen from 55 finalists across 10 categories. Arron was one of the ten Friday Magazine’s Most Inspirational People for 2003, which included people like Steve Irwin and Troy Cassar-Daley. He's a former member of the National Council on Education for Sustainability and was selected to complete Al Gore’s Climate Change Leadership Program. Arron was honored to be a Clean Up the World Ambassador with David De Rothschild and Celine Cousteau.   Arron received The Centenary Medal for outstanding contribution to conservation, awarded by the Governor-General. As a past winner of the United Nations Individual Award for Outstanding Service to the Environment Arron was also the 2001 Young Australian of the Year for the environment. He served two terms as the youngest Board Member of the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority. He served a term as a Sustainability Victoria Board Member and served a term as Councillor for City of Melbourne. He is currently on the South East Water Corporation Board and is Chair of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute. In what was a huge career highlight Arron’s commitment to the environment was covered on ABC’s Australian Story.  In 2008 Arron completed a Churchill Fellowship which took him to New York and Geneva working with the United Nations to research replication of environmental education programs on a global scale. Arron has appeared on Network TEN’s Totally Wild, and Channel 7’s Sunrise and Saturday Disney.  Previously he was chosen as the Australian representative for the 25 most inspirational 25 year olds from around the world as profiled in French Canadian Magazine, La Actualite’.  Arron's first book ‘Inspiring the Next Young Environmental Leader.  Kids Teaching Kids – Addressing Our Environmental Crisis’ has sold 5,000 copies. Have Yourself a Happy Gut Christmas. 2018-12-11T22:00:30Z have-yourself-a-happy-gut-christmas The festive season is often a time of over-indulgence. It’s a familiar sight. Reclined on the lounge, hands resting on bloated stomach, sighs and moans of regret (and a little satisfaction, let’s be honest) after a big Christmas meal. For those of us who don’t want to scrooge on the delicious food, but would prefer to avoid the bloat, Hemple Nutritionist Liv Kaplan shares cleaner twists on classic festive recipes and a few helpful tips. Liv’s tips: 1. Keep routines and the right motivation... For many the holidays is an excuse to let health go out the window. While I’m all for letting go, when your motives for making healthy choices are in the right place you’ll find you naturally make good (or at least better) choices. This means eating well because you want to feel healthy and happy, and not to reach any specific weight or follow any diet. 2. Make gut friendly alternatives... These days with so many amazing gut friendly foods available, that taste amazing too, it’s so easy to say no to desserts and foods that may set off digestive issues. Since most of the time we’re celebrating with food, bring a platter of your favourite gut friendly desserts. What does this look like? Well for optimal gut health you want something free of gluten, wheat and refined sugar. Even better is to keep natural sugars like dried fruit to a minimum. Stuck for ideas? How about our gluten and dairy free Raw Vegan Mince Tarts, Christmas Hemp Halva Slice or Hemp Blinis for appetisers! 3. Keep calm and don’t stress... Easier said than done I know, but I think many if not most of our gut symptoms can be attributed to the mind rather than the plate. So relax! Focus on the fun times spent with friends and loved ones and stop stressing about food. 4. Breathe deeply... For optimal digestion, we want our bodies to be in the “rest and digest” state rather than the “fight or flight”. Unfortunately lots of stress, caffeine, lack of sleep and disrupted circadian rhythms leave us in this state constantly! It’s no wonder gut distress is at an all time high. So what do you do? Of course slowing down, less caffeine, yoga and meditation help. But immediately? Just 10 deep belly breaths is enough to take us out of fight or flight and into rest and digest. You’ll find your digestion is far better after doing just this one, simple thing! Recipes: Raw Vegan Mince Tarts Serves: 12 Prep time: 30 mins Typically a sugar-filled treat, Liv’s gluten-free version of a Christmas favourite, mince tarts, brings all the flavour of the original, plus plant protein and a low GI. Ingredients 1.5 cup almond meal 1/2 cup Hemple Raw 1/2 cup dried inca berries 6 dried figs chopped Zest of one orange 2 tsp mixed spice 1 tsp cinnamon 1/4 cup coconut oil Avocado frosting 2 avocados 3⁄4 cup coconut yoghurt 20 drops liquid stevia 1⁄4 cup raw cacao powder (for the chocolate flavour) For serving: Fresh raspberries Dried orange slices Hemple Hearts Cacao powder Method 1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a sticky dough forms. 2. Using your hands, press into a silicone mini muffin tin, or a normal mini muffin tin lined with paper cases. Place in the fridge to set. 3. To make the frosting place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth! For the green version of the frosting, omit the cacao powder. Or divide frosting into two and make one green and one chocolate! Christmas Hemp Halva Bites Serves: 20-30 To up this dish’s health cred, the traditional sesame seeds are swapped for omega 3 and 6 balanced hemp. This raw, vegan, gluten and sugar-free recipe has the nutty sesame-like flavour of the original, and since it’s Christmas, Liv adds all-natural plant pigments for a festive finishing touch. Ingredients 5 cups dessicated coconut 2 cups Hemple Hearts 20 drops liquid stevia 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped 1 tablespoon beetroot powder Method 1. In a high powered blender or food processor, blend the coconut and Hemple Hearts until the texture is smooth and liquid. ​ 2. Add in the stevia and vanilla and combine. 3. Split mixture into two bowls. Reserve one aside. Stir beetroot powder into the other bowl and pour into loaf tin lined with baking paper. Place in the fridge to set for 1 hour. 4. When set, remove from the fridge and pour in the other bowl. Place back into the fridge to set completely. Slice to serve. 3 Ingredient Hemp Blinis Makes: 8 A light bite that’s gluten and dairy free, easy to digest, high in bioavailable protein and tastes even better than the original. Ingredients 1/4 cup Hemple Raw 1/4 cup hemp or nut milk 1 medium egg 1 pinch sea salt Coconut oil for cooking Method To make the blinis, combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Heat a large pan over a medium heat and grease with a little coconut oil. Pour in two tablespoons worth of the mixture for each blini. Leave to cook and wait until bubbles appear, about 2–3 minutes. Flip with a spatula and cook on the other side for 2 minutes. Top with your favourite toppings to serve! For avo and hemp seed, top with sliced avo, Hemple Hearts, Hemple Cold Pressed Hemp Seed Oil and salt and pepper. For the salmon, top with smoked salmon, red onion, fresh dill, capers and coconut yoghurt. Drizzle with Hemple Cold Pressed Hemp Seed Oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. To request high res images or more information contact: Georgia Branch Ph: 0410 690 408 Email: georgia@hemple.com About Hemple: Stocked in over 350 stores nationally, Hemple worships your body with functional hemp-based nutrition supporting body and mind. For more healthy recipes visit www.hemple.com and for discussions on life-changing wellbeing search for the Hemple Podcast on iTunes. Link to: Hemple product images It’s a wrap: Australia’s largest ever agricultural innovation trade fair concludes – but there’s more to come… 2018-12-03T10:25:33Z its-a-wrap-australias-largest-ever-agricultural-innovation-trade-fair-concludes-but-theres-more-to-come GFIA In Focus Australia, Australia’s biggest agricultural innovation trade fair has concluded after two days of conferences and seminars that attracted an impressive number of visitors. Focusing on precision agriculture and protected cropping, the event was attended by international delegates, investors and high-profile food producers who all took advantage of the opportunity to learn from a variety of industry exhibitors, educational sessions, networking events and conferences. This was GFIA’s first Australian event – and David Stradling, Sales Director of One CMG Group, the company behind GFIA In Focus Australia describes it as a “fantastic showcase of some of Australia’s most innovative, forward-thinking exhibitors.” With innovation being a theme at the forefront of the conference, key guest speaker topics included a panel discussion led by Richard Health from Australian Farm Institute, which covered the digitalization of agriculture, and highlighted challenges and opportunities for Australia’s food and water security. Also hugely popular were a presentation on precision agriculture and the use of digital technologies on Branson Farms by Mark Branson, and a keynote speech from Tim Gentle, founder of Think Digital, which covered a range of fascinating topics, including immersive technologies in agriculture. International delegate Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, Deputy General Director for Vietnamese farm group VinEco (a member of VinGroup) attended the conference to learn more about the latest trends. “I’ve seen lots of great stuff here,” she says. “I’ve been very impressed by the stands, which have showcased so much new technology and innovation, particularly in AI and automation, as well as some really valuable information on everything from irrigation systems and bio-systems to new materials and software for quality and food management. We can now clearly see how we can apply this to our systems to improve efficiencies and save on labour costs.” Beef producer and agent Henry Leonard was also full of praise for the event: “There have been some really excellent speakers, and it was incredible to learn more about some of the research currently being done in this sector. The scope and diversity of investment makes it a very exciting time for the agriculture and food production sector.” Peter Smith, Training Manager of event sponsor Agforce, says that GFIA In Focus Australia’s first event in the Australian market won’t be their last. “I see the whole concept of GFIA as having great longevity. The plan is to build on this year’s event to stage a permanent annual innovation event in Brisbane, and for this to be the biggest in Australia. There’s a great deal of scope for including other streams of ag tech, and to also branch out into other types of ag-events. We think the approach is flexible and sustainable enough to allow the event to grow in all kinds of directions.” David Stradling is similarly optimistic about GFIA In Focus Australia’s role in shaping the nation’s agricultural targets for years to come. “GFIA aims to bridge the gap between international markets and Australia tech suppliers – and in response to this year’s success, next year’s GFIA conference will include multiple excursions by key stakeholders into Australian leadership and innovation in the agriculture and food production sector. This is the next leap of the journey to support the Australian Government’s ambition to make agriculture a $100 billion industry by 2030, and we’re looking forward to making next year’s event even bigger and better than this one.” If you didn’t make it to GFIA in Focus Australia this year, don’t miss out on the opportunity to be a part of 2019’s even more ambitious offering. For more information visit www.gfiaaustralia.com About GFIA The Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture has emerged as a global authority on sustainable food production, driving innovation through exhibitions and conferences across the globe. GFIA exhibitions have welcomed more than 25,000 visitors, and worked with over 50 international partners to showcase innovative products with a proven benefit to the agricultural industry. Their conferences offer stakeholders pioneering forums and marketplaces to foster meaningful dialogue, collaboration, recognition and action between regional food producers, buyers, innovators, policy makers and investors. Media Enquiries: C7EVEN Communications Kate Munsie (02) 6766 4513 / 0421 935 843 kate.munsie@c7even.com.au Photo captions: Agronomist Daniel Rollinson and beef producer and agent Henry Leonard GFIA in Focus Australia Conference and Exhibition Not all "biodegradable" plastics are created equal 2018-12-02T23:51:16Z not-all-biodegradable-plastics-are-created-equal BioGone landfill-biodegradable label means plastics will biodegrade in landfill within 1-5 years When 5 billion shopping bags are used in Australia each year with only 3% being recycled and 75% going to landfill, the importance of biodegradable plastics as a solution to reducing waste becomes apparent. Certainly, refusing and reusing is preferred, which is what the ban on single use plastic bags in Australia wants to achieve. However, if you do use plastic bags but still want to reduce your environmental footprint, take a few minutes to learn what the different product labels mean so you can make the right choices. Most importantly, be wary of any claim of being “Biodegradable” if there are no details on where it will biodegrade and why it is biodegradable. A good first step is to ask yourself “where do I dispose of it until it biodegrades away?”    Bioplastics – made from plant-based materials. Only a small portion of bioplastics are biodegradable, most of which require a municipal or commercial compost facility to actually biodegrade. And they cannot be recycled. Compostable plastics – refer to “biodegradable” plastics made from plant-based materials like corn and wheat starch which will only biodegrade if composted in a municipal or commercial compost facility. PLA or Polylactide for example is a compostable plastic. Unfortunately, there are not many composting facilities available or accessible in Australia. In fact, there is no existing infrastructure to separate compostable plastics from other waste or to transport them to such facilities, resulting in them going to landfill. “Compostable plastic” will not biodegrade in landfills as they are too cool. They also cannot be recycled. Degradable plastics – has nothing to do with biodegradation and microorganisms. “Degradable” or sometimes called “oxo-degradable” plastics use a metallic additive that sets off a slow chemical reaction and over 12-24 months will cause the plastic to fragment into little pieces. So, instead of one piece of plastic we end up with hundreds or thousands of little pieces of plastic which may not be visible, but a worse result for the environment particularly when marine animals easily consume these fragments. “Degradable” plastics cannot be composted or recycled. Landfill biodegradable plastics – incorporate an organic food source additive in the plastic at the time of manufacture. When disposed to a landfill they attract naturally occurring microbes that exist in there. The microbes seek out the food and in the process the enzymes they secrete break down the long polymer molecules where they can be digested too. The resulting products of the biodegradation are a biogas and a biomass (humus).  There is no plastic residue left or any toxic constituents. “Landfill biodegradable” plastics can be recycled. They can also be composted in a municipal or commercial compost facility. Their results are verified by various ASTM testing methods. NOTE: No plastic is good in the ocean. There are no microbes present there to biodegrade the material away. END Dr Ross Headifen is Vice-President of Beach Patrol, the largest volunteer group picking up rubbish across Victoria and co-founder of BioGone. Ross has a PhD in mechanical engineering specialising in prototype machine development. Following a 13-year career in the contaminated land and similar industries involving water quality and soil contamination, he moved to Tanzania with his wife where they volunteered to work with local drillers to install water bores in rural villages to alleviate the suffering of women who spent countless hours each day looking for water. Upon his return to Melbourne, he met and joined the first beach patrol groups in Albert Park and Port Melbourne, later instigating a widespread beach patrol movement across Victoria that now includes 31 local communities. In 2012, Ross established FieldTech Solutions with co-founder John Mancarella to develop a suite of landfill-biodegradable products specifically for the groundwater and soil sampling industry. Quickly realising that there were no environmentally friendly packaging options while shipping out orders using stretch wrap, packing tape and envelopes, the duo decided to create their own landfill biodegradable plastic packing products. In November 2016, they established BioGone to make their landfill biodegradable plastic products available to like-minded consumers and commercial organisations. He continues to campaign for a Cash for Container scheme in Victoria to reduce plastic in our waterways and diverting some 124,000 tonnes of materials from landfill each year.   www.biogone.com.au Media contact: Ping Chew 0439 570 789 New stretch wrap will biodegrade in landfill within 1-5 years 2018-11-29T22:30:03Z new-stretch-wrap-will-biodegrade-in-landfill-within-1-5-years A geologist and an engineer from Melbourne have created an innovative suite of landfill biodegradable packaging supplies including stretch wrap, packing tape, pallet caps and doculopes, for companies 100% committed to environmental responsibility. BioGone’s landfill-biodegradable plastics incorporate an organic food source additive in the plastic at the time of manufacture. When disposed to a landfill, they attract naturally occurring microbes that exist in landfill that seek out the food. In the process, the microbes secrete enzymes that break down the long polymer molecules of the plastics, digesting them to form a humus where no plastic residue is left. BioGone founders, John Mancarella and Dr Ross Headifen, said that while more companies are now going the extra distance to reduce their environmental footprint when producing products, many are often let down by irresponsible packaging materials – just because there aren’t any friendly options. “That’s what happened to us,” explained Dr Headifen. “As creators of landfill-biodegradable testing products for the groundwater and soil sampling industry, our company Fieldtech Solutions was stuck using irresponsible stretch wrap and packing tape when shipping to our customers” “The shipment may have only travelled across town, meaning those packaging items only had a useful life of a few hours and then thrown away to languish in landfill for hundreds of years.” “We had to do something about it. As we already used the technology for our products, we thought, why not apply it to packaging supplies so like-minded companies could also benefit? And BioGone was established.” BioGone supplies a range of landfill biodegradable plastic products for both commercial and consumer use including cling wrap, resealable bags, gloves, dog and nappy waste bags. For more information, visit our website www.biogone.com.au About Ross Headifen, Co-founder, BioGone Ross has a PhD in mechanical engineering specialising in prototype machine development. Following a 13-year career in the contaminated land and similar industries involving water quality and soil contamination, he moved to Tanzania with his wife where they volunteered to work with local drillers to install water bores in rural villages to alleviate the suffering of women who spent countless hours each day looking for water. Upon his return to Melbourne, he met and joined the first beach patrol groups in Albert Park and Port Melbourne, later instigating a widespread beach patrol movement across Victoria that now includes 31 local communities. Beach Patrol is the largest volunteer group picking up rubbish across Victoria with many groups conducting school visits and community events to raise awareness about the plastic problem. As VP of Beach Patrol, he recently met with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at South Melbourne beach to show them Beach Patrol’s activities in cleaning up plastic and other waste on our beaches. In 2012, Ross established FieldTech Solutions with co-founder John Mancarella to develop a suite of landfill-biodegradable products specifically for the groundwater and soil sampling industry. Quickly realising that there were no environmentally friendly packaging options while shipping out orders using stretch wrap, packing tape and envelopes, the duo decided to create their own landfill biodegradable plastic packing products. In 2015, Bio-gone was established to make their landfill biodegradable products available to like-minded consumers and commercial organisations. He continues to campaign for a Cash for Containers scheme in Victoria to reduce plastic in our waterways and diverting some 124,000 tonnes of materials from landfill each year. About John Mancarella, Co-founder, BioGone John has a science degree in geology and has worked as a geologist and an environmental consultant. He later joined an equipment supply company for the groundwater and contaminated land industry where he met co-founder Ross Headifen. In 2012, the duo formed Fieldtech Solutions with the aim of reducing the amount of plastic waste in the groundwater and contaminated land industry. The designed products used recycled plastic and landfill biodegradable plastic for single use disposable items for sampling. MEDIA CONTACT: Ping Chew, 0439 570 789 Fawkner Residents Assoc joins forces with academics to survey local quality of life & mental health 2018-11-29T01:04:24Z fawkner-residents-assoc-joins-forces-with-academics-to-survey-local-quality-of-life-amp-mental-health Fawkner Residents Association’s (FRA) Mr Joe Perri has announced that concern regarding the consequences of rampant overdevelopment and its social / community impact on the quality of life and mental health has brought Dr Amirul Islam and Dr Jessica Sharp of Swinburne University of Technology and FRA together to initiate a project to survey this matter.   Commenting further, Joe Perri said stress and mental health concerns are not unique to living in inner city suburbs like Fawkner, but they are being magnified as the result of this current wave of high-density development.    “As more and more development is imposed onto suburbs that were never designed to cope with high density living – the residents (new and old) are being forced to deal with the multiple demands of streets choked with traffic and parked cars, public transport that exceeds peak hour and safety capacity, noise, pollution, crime, lost open spaces and parks, and the list goes on”, said Joe Perri.   Research suggests that psychological distress is the leading cause of non-fatal burden of disease in Australia with mental health conditions such as depression further associated with chronic diseases and other related concerns.   Joe Perri continued, “As single homes are being replaced by multiple townhouse dwellings or high storey towers in order to accommodate population growth, neighbourhood factors and community infrastructure such as parks, transportation and swimming pools are not increasing in kind”.    “It is likely such changes to community character and insufficient infrastructure are impacting quality of life and physical and mental health among community members – and this has given rise to the proposed project”.    However, it has not been researched to document the fact and the consequences.     Fawkner Residents Association will reach out to local businesses and community groups for funding to support the project in collaboration with the Swinburne University of Technology.   In the pursuit of development at all costs, government and developers have abandoned the valuable lessons learnt over the centuries about socially responsible and sustainable town planning – hence FRA’s very deep concern for the social welfare, multicultural and health needs of Fawkner’s residents – in fact throughout the municipality and Melbourne as a whole.   Joe Perri concluded, “Dr Islam, Dr Sharp and I believe the suburb of Fawkner and the municipality of Moreland would be ideal communities to assess the health and wellbeing of residents, in relation to increased development and neighbourhood factors, which could then be expanded into broader and more comprehensive research in metropolitan Melbourne”.   It is anticipated that the research would extend for several years, and provide key insights into residents’ health and wellbeing over time. While this issue is already apparent to community leaders and resident associations, the aim is to raise awareness to government and policy makers, and to facilitate the development of healthy sustainable communities.      Issued by the Fawkner Residents Association   Media enquiries:      Mr. Joe Perri   Mob:  +61 412 112 545   Email: joe.perri1@gmail.com Australia’s largest ever agricultural innovation trade fair gets underway 2018-11-27T03:33:44Z australias-largest-ever-agricultural-innovation-trade-fair-gets-underway Australia’s biggest agricultural innovation trade fair, GFIA In Focus Australia is off to a flying start, with almost 2,000 registered visitors to attend the event. Aimed at helping Australian farmers and agribusinesses improve the sustainability and sophistication of food production, a number of high-profile delegates from across Asia Pacific were also present on the first day of the Brisbane-based conference, which is intended to open up new business opportunities for Australian ag-tech suppliers and investors. Kicking off the day’s events was guest speaker The Honourable Mark Furner MP, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Queensland, who welcomed attendees during the opening ceremony. In his speech, Mr Furner acknowledged the importance of the event incorporating an impressive line-up of exhibitors showcasing innovative agricultural products and services, and high-profile speakers covering a range of topics. Mr Furner was pleased to open the event and said the Queensland Government will continue to work with innovators to grow the agricultural industry. Amongst the day’s highlights, Pete Lewis, former ABC landline producer facilitated a conference on Controlled Environments & Protected Cropping, covering topics like Automation and controlled systems – while a panel of speakers debated whether indoor and controlled environments can help feed the world, and QAAFI hosted a fascinating ‘Future farming and food’ workshop. A Precision Agriculture & Smart Farming conference looked at Precision Agriculture for livestock and farm asset management, which also debated whether a lack of visibility could be costing businesses. And in some of the most exciting highlights of the day, leading-edge agtech suppliers, entrepreneurs and scientists took to the stage to present their latest innovations ­– including Ceres Tag’s live demonstration of their Smart Ear Tags, which live-streamed the location, health and behavior of 100 cattle located some 1,000km away in northern QLD. Andrew Logan, CEO of OneCrop also presented on the magic of microclimates and revealed how to create explosive yield increases using existing water and sunlight. The day also saw the launch of AgKnowledge, the country’s first agricultural startup company investor pitch platform, which brought together universities, vocational education organisations and colleges, private and public research institutions, professional services organisations, centers of agri-learning / capacity enhancement, agri-tech startup companies and agribusiness sector investors. Sales Director at One CMG Group David Stradling, the company behind GFIA In Focus Australia spoke of his reaction to the day’s events. “This is the first GFIA event in Australia, and day one has already surpassed everybody’s expectations – not only from the organiser’s perspective, but also from the attendees. This exhibition and conference has shown Brisbane to be a fantastic venue for farmers, growers and agribusinesses across the country to learn more about the latest innovations in agriculture. We’re looking forward to seeing what the second day has in store for the event’s many delegates and attendees.” To find out more about GFIA In Focus Australia, visit www.gfiaaustralia.com About GFIA The Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture has emerged as a global authority on sustainable food production, driving innovation through exhibitions and conferences across the globe. GFIA exhibitions have welcomed more than 25,000 visitors, and worked with over 50 international partners to showcase innovative products with a proven benefit to the agricultural industry. Their conferences offer stakeholders pioneering forums and marketplaces to foster meaningful dialogue, collaboration, recognition and action between regional food producers, buyers, innovators, policy makers and investors. Event details: GFIA In Focus Australia 27 November 2018: 09.00 – 18.00 28 November 2018: 09.00 – 16.00 Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre Media Enquiries: C7EVEN Communications Adam Arndell (02) 6766 4513 / 0403 372 889 adam.arndell@c7even.com.au Kate Munsie (02) 6766 4513 / 0421 935 843 kate.munsie@c7even.com.au Photo captions: The Honourable Mark Furner MP, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Queensland The Honourable Mark Furner MP, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Queensland (close up) David Stradling, Sales Director at One CMG Group and Honourable Mark Furner MP, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Queensland SMA Commissions 1.8GW of Solar Inverter Power for Projects in Australia in 2018 2018-11-26T01:12:45Z sma-commissions-1-8gw-of-solar-inverter-power-for-projects-in-australia-in-2018 Niestetal / Sydney, November 26, 2018 — SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA) will have commissioned 1.8GW of solar inverter power in Australia in 2018. This brings SMA’s total utility-scale PV power plant installation base in Australia above 2GW. With this achievement, SMA has succeeded in offering system solutions for utility-scale PV plants in all states and territories on mainland Australia.   “Industry trends suggest that solar power systems are becoming a key player in energy production in Australia, both in households and in large-scale PV power plants, “said John Susa, Executive Vice President, Sales - APAC / North America. “In the month of September alone, over 1GW of SMA central inverters were actively commissioned. We are very proud to announce that SMA system solutions are thus installed in PV plants in each state and territory on Mainland Australia. The uptake in the utility segment has added 10 permanent staff members to our local service team in Australia and has resulted in 15 additional local employees being subcontracted to work on these projects for the duration of the plants’ life.”   Almost all of the utility-scale PV power plant projects in Australia rely on the SMA Medium Voltage Power Station. This turnkey solution includes Sunny Central inverters, a powerful medium-voltage transformer and a medium-voltage switchgear, is easy to transport and allows for fast commissioning. In addition to advanced system technology, SMA also provides first--class service for utility-scale power plants. Local SMA experts inspect the installation of inverters and medium-voltage components, set up required and plant-specific parameters and perform comprehensive function tests to ensure systems are stably connected to the grid and work smoothly from the outset. SMA Australia began operations in 2007 and provides a range of solutions for centralized and decentralized PV power plants as well as for residential PV applications and PV hybrid projects. With a team of 54 employees without temporary workers, the company also supports planning, design, engineering and project management as well as installation and commissioning of its solutions.   For more information on SMA products and solutions, visit www.sma-solar.com.     About SMA The SMA Group with sales of around €900 million in 2017 is a global leader for solar inverters, a key component of all PV plants. SMA offers a wide range of products and solutions that allow for high energy yields for residential and commercial PV systems and large-scale PV power plants. To increase PV self-consumption efficiently, SMA system technology can easily be combined with different battery technologies. Intelligent energy management and digital energy solutions, comprehensive services and operational management of PV power plants round off SMA’s range. The company is headquartered in Niestetal, near Kassel, Germany, is represented in 19 countries and has more than 3,000 employees worldwide, including 500 working in Development. SMA’s multi-award-winning technology is protected by more than 1,200 patents and utility models. Since 2008, the Group’s parent company, SMA Solar Technology AG, has been listed on the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (S92) and is listed in the SDAX index.   Press Contact: Adele Zhang Marketing Director, APAC Tel. +61 29491 4223 Marketing@SMA-Australia.com.au   This press release serves only as information and does not constitute an offer or invitation to subscribe for, acquire, hold or sell any securities of SMA Solar Technology AG (the “Company”) or any present or future subsidiary of the Company (together with the Company, the “SMA Group”) nor should it form the basis of, or be relied upon in connection with, any contract to purchase or subscribe for any securities in the Company or any member of the SMA Group or commitment whatsoever. Securities may not be offered or sold in the United States of America absent registration or an exemption from registration under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended. This press release can contain future-oriented statements. Future-oriented statements are statements which do not describe facts of the past. They also include statements about our assumptions and expectations. These statements are based on plans, estimations and forecasts which the Managing Board of SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA or company) has available at this time. Future-oriented statements are therefore only valid on the day on which they are made. Future-oriented statements by nature contain risks and elements of uncertainty. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors can lead to considerable differences between the actual results, the financial position, the development or the performance of the corporation and the estimates given here. These factors include those which SMA has discussed in published reports. These reports are available on the SMA website at www.SMA.de. The company accepts no obligation whatsoever to update these future-oriented statements or to adjust them to future events or developments.   An Eye for the Future: 2018 NSW Tree Farmer of the Year 2018-11-20T05:37:36Z an-eye-for-the-future-2018-nsw-tree-farmer-of-the-year An Eye for the Future: 2018 NSW Tree Farmer of the Year Tony Kenway of Coorabell NSW is the winner of the 2018 Australian Forest Growers NSW Tree Farmer of the Year award for his mixed plantations of sub-tropical cabinet timber species throughout the Big Scrub area of the North Coast. The Big Scrub is an area of 75,000 hectares between Byron Bay, Lismore and Ballina. The plantation has created quite a lot of interest and Tony’s company Building Forest Designs is now responsible for about 220 ha of cabinet timber reforestation across five sites within the Big Scrub area. These plantings demonstrate excellence in farm planning, the adoption of farm forestry principles, innovation and leadership - all of which are critical considerations for the award. Foresters will generally select trees of good form, rapid growth, with small branches and gentle taper. As an internationally recognised cabinet maker, Tony, was keen to ensure that the species selected would yield high-quality cabinet timbers. He also consulted widely with many foresters and timber workers to finalise his list. It was decided that the planting would be with a species mixture. Tony said, ‘There is little information on how to design a mixed species planting as most large plantations are established as monocultures”. ‘There is a valid reason for this as all management and records can be limited to one species. However, when two or more species are used, challenges arise as to how to treat each individual species in relation to adjacent trees and other species’ ’Each species will have different growth rates, canopy shapes, and water and nutrient requirements and there will be differences in their tolerance to competing trees and weeds. ’It is also likely that management operations such as pruning and thinning will be different for each species. So it is easy to say let us have a mixed species plantation but there will be many managerial challenges ahead that few will have encountered before. ’I am so pleased to be awarded the NSW AFG Tree Farmer of the Year and to assist with the promotion of agroforestry. I’d like to thank Australian Forest Growers for the award and the Forestry Corporation of NSW for sponsoring the competition’, said Tony. Just days to go before the start of Australia’s largest ever agricultural innovation trade fair 2018-11-19T20:00:00Z just-days-to-go-before-the-start-of-australias-largest-ever-agricultural-innovation-trade-fair Australia’s largest ever agricultural innovation trade fair, GFIA In Focus Australia is set to kick off in Brisbane next Tuesday – and with some of the country’s top food producers in attendance, it’s a prime opportunity for farmers, growers and agribusinesses to learn more about the latest innovations in agriculture. Part of a global series of exhibition and conferences driving sustainable food production and innovation, GFIA In Focus Australia takes place at Brisbane’s Convention & Exhibition Center from 27-28 November. Leading producers Mort & Co National Feedlot, Mighty Green and Sundrop Farms are just some of the featured guests, and for Cy Kovacich, owner/manager of Mighty Green, the event is a chance to share his experiences diversifying his sugarcane operation: “The sugar cane industry is traditionally a monoculture ­– but with margins closing up through soil stress and other issues, my focus is on optimising soil health and finding production gains and economic savings through diversification, by growing other crops like rice, beans and soy. I’m honored to be involved, and to have the chance to hopefully inspire others through discussing my own experiences.” Amongst the many innovative exhibitors showcasing the latest game-changing innovations and technology is Ceres Tag, who have announced they will be doing a live demonstration at the event, in what will be a world first for the GFIA. In the days leading up to the event, Ceres Tags will be tagging over 100 cattle in Townsville with their Smart Ear Tags, before live streaming their location, health and behaviour 1,000 kms away at the conference. Guest speaker at the opening ceremony on the 27th November will be The Honourable Mark Furner MP, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Queensland. Mark describes the event as “a brilliant opportunity for farmers, growers and agribusinesses across the country to understand more about some of the latest innovations that can better support Australia’s agricultural industry.” Tim Gentle, Founder, Digital Crusader and Educator of Think Digital will be the second guest speaker at the opening ceremony. He’ll be talking about the some of the immersive new technologies available for agriculture, including the most exciting advancement to date in the world of Virtual Reality – a VR Platform for Agriculture. “If you thought Virtual Reality is just for gamers, and Augmented Reality is to catch Pokemon Go’s, then think again,” he says. “In agriculture, immersive technologies will increase productivity, improve safety, enhance training and help you to communicate more effectively than ever before, and I’m excited to be able to unveil the details of this new technology at the conference.” For Sales Director at One CMG Group David Stradling, the company behind GFIA In Focus Australia, the event looks set to be a game-changer for those involved. “We anticipate that this event will deliver huge business opportunities for ag-tech suppliers in markets expected to experience significant growth over the next few years,” he says. The GFIA are giving away 2,000 free tickets – but with only a small number left, farmers and agribusinesses are encouraged not to miss out on the chance to attend this unique mix of exhibitions, conferences, innovation sessions and educational workshops. To register your place at GFIA In Focus Australia before it begins, visit www.gfiaaustralia.com Event details: GFIA In Focus Australia 27 November 2018: 09.00 – 17.00 28 November 2018: 09.00 – 16.00 Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre About GFIA The Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture has emerged as a global authority on sustainable food production, driving innovation through exhibitions and conferences across the globe. GFIA exhibitions have welcomed more than 25,000 visitors, and worked with over 50 international partners to showcase innovative products with a proven benefit to the agricultural industry. Their conferences offer stakeholders pioneering forums and marketplaces to foster meaningful dialogue, collaboration, recognition and action between regional food producers, buyers, innovators, policy makers and investors. Media Enquiries: C7EVEN Communications Adam Arndell (02) 6766 4513 / 0403 372 889 adam.arndell@c7even.com.au Kate Munsie (02) 6766 4513 / 0421 935 843 kate.munsie@c7even.com.au Photo captions: Tim Gentle, Founder, Digital Crusader and Educator of Think Digital Precision Farming Cut Price Skips is Now Available at a New Address 2018-11-14T07:56:22Z cut-price-skips-is-now-available-at-a-new-address Beard, ACT. 14th November, 2018. Cut Price Skips would like to announce that they are now operating out of a new address and have moved out of their existing office. The skip bin hire organization has shifted its operations to 7 Copper Cres, Beard ACT 2620, Australia. However, they continue to provide their skip bin hire services in and around the Canberra region. Rob Heidemanns, the owner of Cut Price Skips, says, “Even though we have been operating out of our old business address for 10 years, we have now decided to move our operations to Beard. However, none our services will be affected due to this.” Rob also adds that as a part of their local commitment, they make sure to provide employment to the locals and use local suppliers from the locality. Rob Heidemanns also adds, “We take pride in the way we treat our customers and are always there to help them out, whether it’s figuring out the right skip size or the package they should choose. T Rumbelow, a regular at Cut Price Skips, says, “I have used Cut Price Skips for the past 3 years and found that their service and prices just can't be beaten. ” Having served the locality of Canberra for 10 years, Cut Price Group knows the needs of the local community and has developed customized skip hire services in Canberra for their customers over the years. The skips can be ordered via their online ordering system as well as through their mobile apps. ### The Clean Collective launches Green Friday - a Festival for our Future 2018-11-13T17:01:55Z the-clean-collective-launches-green-friday-a-festival-for-our-future Australia’s strictest toxin-free, waste-less shop and community, The Clean Collective has launched Australia’s first Green Friday Festival, as part of its 46-day long Conscious Christmas campaign.   The Clean Collective’s Green Friday Festival refreshes and recycles the ‘tradition’ of Black Friday, into a new event that invests in the future of our planet and our health. In doing so, the Aussie startup is calling out the irresponsible product development, mindless consumption and waste created by Black Friday sales, and their impact on global social and environmental wellbeing.    From 12 November to 2 December 2018, The Clean Collective will donate all its profits to Trees for the Future, with the aim of raising enough money to plant 50,000 trees as part of The Forest Garden Program, all while helping Australian consumers make more conscious purchases this festive season.   Charlie Thompson, CEO and Co-Founder, explains why The Clean Collective has decided to give its profits away, at a time of year when most businesses are reaping the rewards of sales and Christmas shopping.   “We founded The Clean Collective to identify solutions that would drive positive social and environmental change in our everyday purchases, habits and traditions. We know Black Friday has become a part of the Christmas shopping process, and while we believe the holiday is about more presence and less presents, gift-giving is a deep-rooted human tradition,” Thompson comments.   “We decided rather than boycott Black Friday, we’re going to work with it, because it’s far more effective to turn the tide by flowing with it, than swimming against it.   “So instead, we’re encouraging a different mindset this festive season. One where every gift purchased drives a positive social and environmental impact, nurtures our bodies and the Earth, lasts - never wasted or discarded, and gives back to a greater cause, for our future, and the future of our planet. ”   When planted in the right areas, over the right timeline, 50,000 trees will:   ●      Absorb the amount of C02 equal to driving a car 32,500,000 miles - the equivalent of driving from Perth to Sydney and back 664 times![1] ●      Release enough oxygen to sustain 100,000 humans.[2] ●      Reduce runoff caused by rainfall by up to 50,000,000 gallons.[3] ●      Contribute to other environmental impacts, such as promoting insect and plant species biodiversity, composting, organic farming practices; improving climate change resilience; ending soil degradation and farmer-based deforestation; reforesting landscapes; conserving local forests and animal habitats; and recharging groundwater tables. [4]   Shoppers at thecleancollective.com will also benefit from up to 20% off all purchases during The Green Friday Festival, to support their decision to buy products that are kinder to themselves, their families and the environment.   The Green Friday Festival runs before, during and after the Black Friday weekend, maximising access to sale prices over an extended period of time, preventing ‘mindless consumerism’ - unwanted or unnecessary impulse purchases.    “We’ve researched the impact of Black Friday sales, and we don’t like what we’ve found. We believe Black Friday is an event that needs reinventing. The idea and the tradition need rethinking, recycling and reusing to drive greater good and tackle the wrong-doings it’s currently fuelling. That’s why as well as giving back to the planet, we also want to give back to our loyal community, and gift them affordable prices and more time to make conscious decisions about their Christmas purchases,” Thompson comments.   The Clean Collective’s Conscious Christmas campaign runs from 9 November to 26 December 2018, sharing tips, tricks and solutions to help Aussies create a conscious, better-impact Christmas. The Green Friday Festival will offer up to 20% off sitewide from 12 November - 2 December, where all profits will be donated to Trees for the Future, with the aim of funding the planting of 50,000 new trees. [1] Annually, an acre of trees absorbs the amount of carbon dioxide equal to driving your car 26000 miles. GreenPop. A healthy forest has 40 to 60 trees per acre. (MAST Health Forest Initiative). Driving from Perth to Sydney and back = 7,868km / 4888.95 miles (Google Maps) [2] Mature trees can absorb roughly 48 pounds of CO2 a year. The tree in turn releases enough oxygen to sustain two human beings - ColoradoTree.org / Clean Air Gardening [3] Trees reduce urban runoff and erosion by storing water and breaking the force of rain as it falls. The USDA reports that 100 mature trees can reduce runoff caused by rainfall by up to 100,000 gallons! Clean Air Gardening [4] Trees for the future. trees.org Precision agriculture can revolutionise the industry, say leading experts. 2018-11-12T02:02:06Z precision-agriculture-can-revolutionise-the-industry-say-leading-experts What do data analytics and modelling, fertiliser applications, harvesting, irrigation, seeding, planting and spraying equipment, GPS systems, robotics and smartphone apps have in common? They’re all precision agriculture systems that can revolutionise various aspects of a farm's operations. And as technology evolves to keep pace with the changing needs of a business that’s worth as much as 12% of the country’s GDP, they’re poised to help transform Australia’s agricultural industry. With the Federal Government wanting Australian agriculture to become a $100 billion industry by 2030, a key focus for the industry is the unlocking of new technology, supported by a favourable tax and policy environment for innovation. It’s no surprise, then, that interest is firmly fixed on how producers can harness the benefits of precision agriculture to achieve everything from increased production and reduced labour costs to water savings, lower wastage and greater task automation. The breadth of available applications is huge. Whether it’s computer and mobile-based apps designed to provide real-time information relating to crop disease, or GPS mapping to better understand soil conditions, new technologies are emerging to help farmers collect data, manage risk, increase yields, save time and cut costs. As Anastasia Volkova, CEO and Founder of data analytics platform FluroSat explains, “there have been major advances in spatial and navigation technology, meaning that agriculture can increasingly be underpinned by technologies like self-driving tractors and robotics. Secondly, the ability to use proximal or remote sensing to collect information that can both inform decision-making and measure its effects is also key. And the final piece of the puzzle is machine-learning advancements, and the ability to collect data to create a highly detailed picture – which again, can have hugely beneficial implications for agriculture.” Technologies that address drought-related challenges are another burgeoning industry. Following the government’s recent plans to set up a $3.9 billion fund to support water infrastructure and drought-related projects, the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) has identified a suite of new technologies that can help combat Australia’s current drought. They include a water conditioning system that enables growers to utilise supplies previously considered unsuitable, a device that continually informs farmers of flow rates and total water used, and a microclimate solution combining sensors, analytics and apps that analyses atmospheric conditions, leaf wetness, soil moisture and temperature to provide localised growing condition data. Anastasia believes there’s a strong case for embracing new technologies, especially in the face of extreme conditions. “Robustness is the key characteristic needed for agricultural systems, especially in the face of adverse weather like drought. Technologies like variable rate, advance sensing and machine learning technologies can underpin a successful solution that can mitigate the worst effects and support the industry through these types of challenges.” AgTech Cluster Leader at CSIRO Data61 Dr Peyman Moghadam agrees that new technologies are receiving a huge amount of interest currently, especially relating to drones, aerial and satellite imaging, robotic technologies, automated harvesting and precision spraying. Yet a sense of innovation fatigue is also affecting the industry, he says. “Growers are right now more interested in adapting technology to fit their existing equipment than investing in brand new assets. So what’s happening currently is a trend of retro-fitting existing assets to make them smarter. We’re not taking drivers out of the tractors just yet. Instead we’re offering smart features, retro-fitted to make lives easier, using technology like auto steering and automated harvesting, weeding and pruning, which can help reduce labour costs by as much as 30-40%.” Whether through robotics, virtual reality, AI or new automation technologies, the digitalisation of agriculture means that farmers and growers will over time be better able to increase production and yields, with fewer inputs and labour costs. As Anastasia explains, “Costs can be reduced by knowing for instance the response to nutrients in different areas of a farm, so that fertilizer use can be fully optimized. Whether it’s used for weed detection in the field, or for grading the protein content of a grain that’s about to be harvested, precision agriculture solutions can offer impressive results for farmers who are able to embrace these new technologies.” The GFIA will present the latest innovations and technologies for smart food production in the precision agriculture sector at Australia’s largest agricultural innovation event, GFIA in Focus, in Brisbane on November 27-28. Anastasia and Peyman will join a host of guest speakers discussing everything from smart irrigation and big data to robotics and Virtual Reality. To register your attendance or to find out more, visit www.gfiaaustralia.com Ends Media Enquiries: Kate Munsie - C7EVEN COMMUNICATIONS (02) 6766 4513 kate.munsie@c7even.com.au Photo captions: Precision Agriculture Previous GFIA Precision Agriculture Conference