Digital Infrastructure Supporting the Future of Agriculture

The Agricultural Research Federation (AgReFed), supported by the ARDC, provides farmers with access to nationally collated data collected by farmers, researchers and agronomists.
farmer holding tablet in a wheat field, looking at a strand of wheat

Digital technologies have the potential to fundamentally transform the way food and fibre is produced, traded and consumed. The Agricultural Research Federation (AgReFed), supported by the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC), provides farmers with access to nationally collated data collected by farmers, researchers and agronomists. Data on crop biology and genomics, soils, and weather conditions are collected with a range of techniques including remote sensing and help farmers solve practical problems in a risky farming environment.

The AgReFed enables the sharing of research data to enhance decision making and generate new insights into the productivity, profitability and resilience of Australia’s agricultural industries. There are a broad range of data-driven applications and support tools that help guide farmers with their decisions using real-time data.

“AgReFed provides farmers, researchers and industry with the ability to discover, access, visualise and integrate agricultural data from multiple sources, to answer new research questions and make better informed decisions for future management,” Kerry Levett, Senior Research Data Consultant from the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) said.

AgReFed has been built on a foundation of Findable, Accessable, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) and Trusted Repositories policies. This will lead to increased discoverability and reuse of agricultural data in agriculture and other sectors, such as health, environment and economics.

“AgReFed is incentivising FAIR data practice and enabling greater sharing and reuse of agricultural data. While culture change across institutions takes time and persistence, learning for AgReFed participants has been accelerated as a result of access to specialist skills and guidance from ARDC and FedUni,” Helen Thompson, Director of CeRDI said.

A key achievement of AgReFed has been the development of guidelines for data stewardship and governance, that helps to bring independent organisations together to make strategic and technical decisions about data sharing within AgReFed.

On completion of the subsequent Data Stewardship Framework Enactment project, new partners will be sought to further expand the AgReFed network and increase the wealth of knowledge being made available to the agricultural community.

AgReFed has been created through the ARDC-supported Agricultural Research Data Cloud (AgRDC) project, a collaboration between The Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation (CeRDI) at Federation University Australia (FedUni), CSIRO, University of Western Australia, University of New England, The University of Adelaide and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development – Western Australia.