Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee, left, with Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall at the TAFE Digital HQ this morning.
Thursday, 3 October 2019
A GROUNDBREAKING robotic gardening system aimed at giving TAFE NSW agribusiness students a cutting edge has been unveiled at Armidale today by Northern Tablelands MP and Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall and Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee.
Mr Marshall and Mr Lee visited the TAFE Digital headquarters this morning to inspect the industry-leading robotics work taking place at the Armidale facility.
Mr Marshall said the FarmBot system was a big step towards revolutionising the nation’s horticulture and education sectors.
“Not only does FarmBot plant seeds based on the size of the adult crop but it waters and monitors soil moisture and identifies and removes weeds,” Mr Marshall said.
“Through collaboration with the agriculture sector TAFE NSW Digital Learning Lab has developed a piece of technology which not only sets a bench mark for horticultural innovation but supports students as they learn the skills to deal with the automation and digitisation of farming.
“TAFE NSW Agribusiness SkillsPoint and TAFE Digital work with employers and industry partners to drive enrolments in key skills areas, providing niche solutions and help prevent future skills shortages.”
It’s hoped FarmBot will be utilised in urban farming short courses, production horticulture, robotic agriculture and agribusiness technology for students to learn how to improve food production.
Mr Marshall said it’s been interesting watching this advanced technology being developed in regional NSW.
“With the prolonged drought placing pressure on food production in NSW we need to be looking at ways to reap maximum benefit from every drop of water and every plant which goes into the ground,” Mr Marshall.
“I’m confident developments like FarmBot will facilitate the agribusiness sector to grow and provide new business opportunities into the future.
“Times are tough on the land but I’m proud to see the NSW Government, through TAFE NSW, working to ensure our agribusiness graduates have the skills and knowledge to become future national and global industry leaders.”
The FarmBot can be controlled via almost internet-enabled device, including smartphones, tablets and laptops.
TAFE NSW Digital Learning Lab is also working to extend the capabilities and functionality of FarmBot to open further creative possibilities for students.
Extra features include 3D CAD (Computer Aided Design) by creating supplemental code and 3D printed systems to enhance watering, eliminate common insect pests, periodically fertilise plants and enhance weed removal capabilities.