Research Team: Joanne Tingey-Holyoak, Peter Buss, Selwyn Stevens, John Pisaniello, Wolfgang Mayer

Partners: Sentek Technologies Pty Ltd, potato growers in the Murrylands SA and grapegrowers in McLaren Vale


From 2016, this team have been working to develop a tool that links growers’ biophysical and business data for integrated irrigation decision making. Farmers have welcomed increased information resources around water and irrigation, yet few tools have made their complex workloads more manageable. Using sensed soil moisture, microclimate and satellite information an important area of focus – it helps us to know what crop needs, what it currently has, and where to apply to promote growth. But without appropriate decision-making context such as integration of farm business and accounting data, tools can be hard to integrate into farm life and even have perverse outcomes.


A software prototype was developed by the UniSA project team in collaboration with the partners which has now been leveraged by an external developer to pre-commercial stage (Tech Readiness Level 6).

Benefits to industry

The Research Director and co-founder of the sensing partner organisation has been a champion of this research, aware very early on that linking the sensed information being produced into the business would be a very important future direction for their product. Through the 6-year partnership with UniSA we have been able to realise that benefit and ongoing works necessary to create the “WaterLink” between grower accounting information and their sensing data.

Benefits to UniSA

The research helped build a strong ongoing interdisciplinary partnership between CMVI Streams, CMVI and UniSA STEM and enabled the team to forge a strong connection at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS) to advance the work into developing countries. Whilst the project has resulted in a book chapter, 5 high level international publications in additional to many industry and media pieces, including in The Australian, the links to growers has been the most impactful benefit, allowing for co-creation of a truly end-user informed product with commercialization potential.

Further information:

people in a field

people in a field

people in a field

people in a field