The first mobile pest surveillance unit, known as a ‘sentinel’, which forms part of a nationwide R&D initiative to provide Australia’s plant industries with vital information about the presence of pests and diseases in different growing regions, will be unveiled at the Hart Field Day in South Australia on Tuesday 17 September 2019.


A total of eight sentinels will be constructed and deployed in different growing regions around Australia as part of a $21 million program called iMapPESTS: Sentinel Surveillance for Agriculture. This project is led by Hort Innovation, through funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program, as well with support from 17 partner organisations. The sentinel includes a suite of smart surveillance traps that capture airborne fungal spores and insects and reference them against information including GPS, temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction to provide real-time data on pests and diseases in a particular region.


That data will then be fed real-time into a cloud-based system for storage and downstream analysis, and will be distributed to producers, governments and industry groups in the form of immediate alerts, general reports and an iMapPESTS user dashboard to support fast, informed and collaborative decision-making. The iMapPESTS project aims to rapidly monitor and report the presence of priority pests and diseases to aid on-farm decision making across all plant industries of Australia, including grains, cotton, sugar, horticulture, wine and forestry.


The sentinel is being launched by South Australian Research and Development Institute researcher Dr Rohan Kimber. The Hart Field Day will also feature the launch of the iMapPESTS website, as well as a grain grower advisory group to help inform the most effective way for the vast amount of data collected by the sentinel to be communicated back to industry.


Project partners:

  • Hort Innovation – Rural R&D for Profit grant lead and program manager
  • AgriFutures Australia
  • Cotton Research & Development Corporation (CRDC)
  • Forest & Wood Products Australia Limited (FWPA)
  • Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC)
  • Nursery & Garden Industry Australia Limited (NGIA)
  • Sugar Research Australia Limited (SRA)
  • Wine Australia
  • Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
  • AgriBio – Department of Economic Development Jobs Transport and Resources (DEDJTR)
  • Department of Primary Industries & Regional Development, Western Australia (DPIRD)
  • Plant Health Australia (PHA)
  • South Australian Research & Development Institute (SARDI)
  • Plant & Food Research (PFR) [NZ]
  • Burkard Scientific Limited [UK]
  • Rothamsted Research Limited [UK]