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University of Southern Queensland Centre for Agricultural Engineering (CAE)

University of Southern Queensland's Centre for Agricultural Engineering (CAE) was established in 1994 to specialise in developing solutions for a sustainable and profitable rural sector. CAE is focused on delivering applied, practical and profitable research solutions that strengthen agricultural productivity and address environmental management challenges in Australia and overseas.

Researchers work to identify and align national and global industry needs and opportunities with the University’s considerable research capacity, targeting areas for development through co-investment and partnership, both nationally and internationally. This builds on 50 years of agricultural engineering at UniSQ.

The Centre’s research focus covers four areas:

Irrigation and Water Management

For over 25 years, the Centre has been working with industry to develop more sustainable and efficient ways of using water to grow crops and support the environment. The Centre is a national leader in precision irrigation and water management research.

Modernisation and automation of both surface and pressurized irrigation systems is a key focus area, where we work closely with the cotton, sugar, dairy and other industries as well as commercial companies.

Farming Systems Innovation

The research team delivers outcomes by combining agricultural sciences, agricultural inputs and practices, agronomic production databases and precision agriculture technologies to efficiently manage agronomic and livestock production systems.

Researchers are involved in investigating soil and crop nutrient management efficiencies and effects of fertilisers, treated water from the resource sector and controlled traffic farming on soils and catchments to assist on-farm decision making.

Energy and Bioresource Recycling

Increasing energy costs are one of the major challenges facing Australian agriculture and a key driver of energy efficiency. Researchers investigate the viability of renewable energy sources and look at ways to reduce consumption of non-renewable energy on farms and in agricultural industries.

Information on optimising irrigation systems performance, energy efficiency, selecting alternative farming systems or methods, best management practices and the benefits of emerging technologies is being developed to provide outcomes to industry.

Robotics, Automation and Machine Vision

The team develops advanced robotic sensing technologies to enhance autonomy in crop production, biosecurity and animal welfare on-farm, with aims for on-farm adoption in commercial farm conditions.

Primarily the advanced sensing systems involve machine vision technology, which also incorporates supporting mechanical structures for on-farm installation and deployment, electronic interfacing with controllable outputs like spray nozzles, drafting gates or remote notification in real-time and fusion of multiple digital data sources and decision support systems.

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