The Farmer March-April 2022

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fostering start-ups to develop targeted products for farmers with support and insights from DPI researchers and experts. The GATE program and its partners cover a variety of services and offerings, and have supported over 70 agriculture start-ups, generating over 100 jobs in NSW and over $150 million in investment. INNOVATING FOR ON-FARM ENERGY INDEPENDENCE

Finn Biogas is a wholly Australian-owned company focused on delivering realistic, sustainable solutions for businesses within the Australian waste to energy sector. The company has designed and built biogas solutions for customers throughout Australia and Asia, however, its key strengths are in the adaption of technology for the Australian market, including concept development and feasibility studies, detailed design and planning, procurement, construction management and commissioning of biogas plants. Marketing Manager Renata Einhaus notes that at their core, the innovation trends – including automation, sensors and drones – are driving hightech farms aimed at allowing farmers to concentrate on the bigger things such as soil carbon and animal welfare. Hand in hand with these trends is the move towards energy independence. Farmers a century ago produced their own energy as feed for horses. “Now there is growing interest in sustainable practices and part of that is energy independence, and a big part of that is biogas,” says Renata. “Biogas plants are very popular and well utilised in Europe but not in Australia, although that is slowly changing.


Clockwise from left: Water monitoring sensor; Data from field devices can feed into complex agronomic modelling and provide growers near real crop growth updates remotely; Tour of one of the DPI implemented Farms of the Future Pilot program farms at Blayney.

“On top that, farmers are being affected by the cost of labour, the cost of energy and increasingly nutrient costs. Farmers, like all businesses, are looking for ways to reduce their overall cost and electricity can be an excruciatingly high cost for some farmers. Desire to reduce those costs and the quest for energy independence is driving farmers to look at alternatives and biogas is one of the few forms of renewable energy that can provide energy 24/7/365.” Renata says that for farmers, “having control over their own decentralised energy generation asset provides a shield from increasing energy prices, > MAR - APR 2022



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