Local innovator awarded $15K farm irrigation idea

Goondiwindi-born innovator Patrick Kinsella won a Nescafé Headstart prize worth $15,000 for his groundbreaking idea to change the way farm irrigation is used.

Mr Kinsella has applied technology used in sewerage and water treatment plants to automate whole pumping systems on farms which he believes will decrease labour costs and improve efficiency, and safety.

Patrick Kinsella.

Patrick Kinsella.

He hopes to use the prize money to create a website, cover some start-up costs of his business and test concepts of smart phone apps to control the systems.

After studying mechanical engineering at university in Queensland, Mr Kinsella picked up a on-farm job in Moree which initially sparked the idea.

“I was looking at irrigation systems thinking why can’t, instead of getting someone to go manually turn it on, they turn it on with their phone or other device.

“One of my friends works for a big German valve manufacturer and he was showing me how he could turn on certain valves with his computer over the other side of the world at big sewage and water treatment plants,” he said.

Mr Kinsella has designed a basic irrigation system for a client in Goondiwindi, installed close it his farm house.

“First off it was about working out pump flows and making sure the the water released was efficient. This is basic but eventually the farmer wont even have to be on his farm to control the irrigation system,” he said.

The innovator also believes automated systems will increase Australia’s competitiveness in the world market.

“As the world’s population grows, food security will become a major concern. We will need to create more food for less of the cost,” he said. 

He said agriculture was one of the last industries to take up connecting to the internet because of the network lagging behind.

“Once it does it will truly change the industry increasing productivity, profitability and competitiveness.”

Mr Kinsella was thrilled to be awarded the $15,000 prize money and thanked Nescafe for the helping-hand.

“They are giving young people a chance to make a big impact on industry.”