World-class research for Queensland's cropping sector
Central Queensland is an important agricultural production region, contributing significantly to the state’s $19 billion agricultural industry. It experiences significantly warm and dry weather, similar to that of Northern Australia, with the impacts of climate change presenting further complexities.
The Central Queensland Smart Cropping Centre (CQSCC) is a flagship innovation facility that focuses on the unique climate of the region. The centre brings together research, development, and extension (RD&E) in areas like farming systems, agronomy, crop innovation and plant protection.
Enhanced by the latest innovations in AgTech and data sciences, the centre will deliver world-class research for Queensland's cropping sector.
Queensland Smart Farms is a network of farms and industry learning centres dedicated to advancing Australia’s agriculture and food industries through AgTech innovation.
This network provides test beds for new farming and supply chain practices and technologies to drive and support industry adoption.
Combining world-leading research, development and extension programs with state-of-the-art facilities and established industry networks, Queensland Smart Farms are designed to work in a range of climates, soils, production systems and supply chains.
The Central Queensland Smart Cropping Centre, a Queensland Smart Farm, is a flagship innovation facility located in Emerald, based on 863 hectares of research and commercial farming operations.
The Centre brings together research, development and extension in areas like farming systems, agronomy, crop innovation and plant protection.
Supported by the latest innovations in AgTech and data sciences, the Centre will deliver world-class research for Queensland’s cropping sector.
Collaboration is at the heart of the work undertaken by the Central Queensland Smart Cropping Centre—bringing together a rich network of organisations to build an AgTech ecosystem focused on future farming systems for a variable climate.
The Central Queensland Smart Cropping Centre will focus its resources on sustainable cropping systems and crop protection and improvement in the grains, pulses and cotton commodities.
The Centre’s vision enables research, development and extension in Central Queensland to be re-imagined as contemporary and relevant for a technology-enabled and data-rich world.
Underpinned by data science and data engineering, research, development and extension activities and collaborations will focus on delivering outcomes that specifically demonstrate how technology and data will support farming systems in the Central Queensland environment of climate variability.
RD&E within the Centre will focus on:
- grains, pulses and cotton
- climate-adaptive, sustainable and resilient farming systems
- automation-ready production systems
- market-integrated supply chains
- opportunity for commercial plot and field trials.
The Central Queensland Smart Cropping Centre will work with and contribute to the growth of the broader AgTech ecosystem to deliver impact to both early-stage AgTech companies as well as local producers and innovators.
The Centre’s technology focus aims to:
- Investigate how AgTech can be implemented to reduce the impact of the challenges we face in agriculture today and tomorrow.
- Utilise automation of machinery, robotics and drone technologies to increase efficiency, and reduce risk and the impact of labour shortages.
- Provide access to technology and learning opportunities to inform, educate and validate as well as the viability of the technology.
- Promote collaboration and partnerships with universities, industry, and the community to ensure a united direction for Agriculture in Central Queensland.
For more information, visit: daf.qld.gov.au/smartfarms
The CQSCC delivers on a 'for industry, by industry' approach. Collaboration is at the heart of the centre, bringing together a rich network of organisations to build an AgTech ecosystem focused on sustainable farming systems for a variable climate.
- Demonstration – Showcasing and demonstration of AgTech where multiple solutions can operate in parallel. This gives growers and producers an opportunity to see AgTech in action and assists in making informed decisions.
- Research – Opportunity for industry to assist in meeting research needs while also getting real world feedback from those in the field.
- Development – An environment where new technologies can be trialled, tested and iterated to validate and meet the demands of real-world conditions.
- Extension – Training, workshops and field day opportunities to engage with other AgTech Providers, Supply Chains, Growers and Researchers informing and educating what AgTech can achieve.
Together with industry and research partners, the centre will deliver research, development and extension that enhances productivity, sustainability, resilience and agility in Central Queensland's variable climate.
Integrated farming solutions
The centre will focus on integrated farming system solutions that incorporates data, science and engineering to help capture, manage and leverage data to make better, smarter decisions.
The centre's focus on farming systems will cross the cottons, grains, pulses and horticulture (citrus) sectors across:
- climate-adaptive cropping systems
- market-integrated productions systems
- automation-ready farming systems
- sustainable and resilient cropping systems.
Significant infrastructure will support AgTech functions and improve field research capability including:
- staff control centre
- robotics control centre
- new research and processing facilities.
Additionally, to support greater extension and demonstration capacity on site, a field-day centre is envisaged in the heart of the research area.
Extensive water delivery and irrigation redesign work is underway to increase research capability, enabling research to be undertaken from small plot trials through to commercial farm scale trials across the 400 hectares or irrigated farmland.
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The Central Queensland Smart Cropping Centre is a Department of Agriculture and Fisheries initiative. It is funded by the Queensland Government.
Last updated: 08 Aug 2023