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Case Study 1. PIRSA

Background: Struan and Kybybolite Best Practice AgTech Demonstration Farm

South Australian producers are experiencing farm management solutions and cutting-edge technology at the Struan and Kybybolite Best Practice Demonstration Farm.

The 1,100 ha Struan farm is situated approximately 370 km south-east of Adelaide, and 17 km south of Naracoorte. This is approximately 35 km from the 300 ha Kybybolite farm.

Key takeaway from the Cae Study:
The ranking by ROI in first year of purchase:

1. Farmo's Water Rat 323%
2. Goaana (Go Tank) 170%
3. Farmbot Water Level Monitor 122%
4. DIT agtech (tank level monitor) 104%
5. Alpha Group Consulting (tank level sensors) 93%
6. DIT Agtech (remote moniroing camera) 80%

All of the above results are excellent in terms of ROI and make purchasing remote water monitoring one of the easier decisions you will have to make on the farm.
Water Monitoring ROI

Water Monitoring cost comparison

Case Study - comparing Water Monitoring soloutions

1. Trough or Tank Sensor – Farmo 

The Farmo Water Rat trough and tank sensor remotely monitors trough or tank water level. 

How does it work?

The Water Rat floats in the trough or tank and uses accelerometer tilt sensors to detect movement, and when the Water Rat reaches low levels in either a trough or tank, it tilts over, triggering an alert – sent to your mobile device. When the water level returns to normal levels, another alert is triggered. The Water Rat is easily transported by simply picking it up out of the trough and moving it to the next trough. If using the Water Rat in a tank, a tether also has to be purchased to tether the Water Rat, so an alert is given if the tank is at 50% capacity.  

Water Rat in trough

Fig. 1. Farmo Water Rat in a trough at Struan. 

Value proposition 

The Farmo Water Rat reduces the number of water runs required, therefore lowering labour and driving costs. Water Rat is being used at the BPDF farm to monitor water troughs. Due to the portability of Water Rat, it is moved with the mob when they are moved into a new paddock. Monitoring devices do not eliminate the need to inspect tanks and troughs, but mean checks are required less frequently. Through the water usage graph, pump health and water leaks can be identified early, reducing the risk of livestock going without water. 

Return on investment (ROI)

Purchase price: $545 excluding GST.

Ongoing data subscription costs: $135 excluding GST, per year, for one device. 

Low water levels may go undetected for days, while water leaks can go undetected for weeks, if not longer. The use of the monitoring devices does not eliminate the need to check water tanks and troughs but reduces how often these checks are needed. The Kybybolite farm is located 37km north east of the Struan farm and is not as regularly patrolled. Considering the distance between the farms, we estimate water runs to be reduced by 50%. Our estimate is that the investment costs will be recovered in first year of installation, even if no water issues are detected. If a significant out of water event went undetected even for a few days, livestock weight loss and death could occur resulting in significant production losses.   

Table 1 outlines the costs of Farmo Water Rat compared with manually checking stock water at our Kybybolite property. If your property relies on reticulated water, these costs will be considerably higher. 

Table 1: Estimated return on investment of the Farmo Water Rat over three years compared to no water monitoring.

No water monitoring and manual water checks

Water monitoring - Year 1

50% reduction in time spent checking tanks and troughs

Water monitoring - Year 2

50% reduction in time spent checking tanks and troughs

Water monitoring - Year 3

50% reduction in time spent checking tanks and troughs

Purchase price and ongoing data costs1



($545 + $135)



Labour cost2





Motor vehicle cost3





Total costs











450% of investment and on-going costs recovered

818% of investment and on-going costs recovered

1081% of investment and on-going costs recovered

1Purchase price correct as of April 2022. 2Estimated labour cost of $50/hour to check waters. 

3Motor vehicle costs estimated at $0.72/km. 4Profit calculations estimated from a 50% reduction in labour and vehicle costs. 5RoI calculations assume no water issues have been detected in 3 years. 


Farmo provides a text message or email alert if the trough is empty. You can also monitor the information online from your phone, tablet or computer. 

Fig. 2. Email message notification that the trough has returned to normal levels (left picture) and online dashboard information (right picture). 

Connectivity requirements 

  • The Water Rat uses a NB-IoT (Narrowband Internet of Things) connection to send data back to your computer, phone or tablet.

Installation and power  

  • The Water Rat is light and easily installed by placing it in a trough or tank. A small magnet is placed on the side of the Water Rat to activate it before placing into the trough. 
  • When installing into a tank, it is recommended to tether the Water Rat to the side of the tank to allow an alert to be sent when the tank is 50% full, rather than when the tank is completely empty.
  • Powered by a Lithium-Ion non-rechargeable battery (8000 mAh Li/SOCl2) for long-term use.
  • Pricing model

    • Hardware and annual subscription costs for data and service. 

    How can I view this? 

    • To view the Water Rat at Struan Research Centre, contact Robyn Terry at or 0418 631 842. 

    Find out more about Farmo

    Nick Seymour 
    Phone: 0434 555 804 

    Visit for more information about Farmo Water Rat.


    Robyn Terry - AgTech Co-innovation Officer
    Phone: 0418 631 842

    Andy Phelan – AgTech Development Officer
    Phone: 0427 619 941

    Visit for more information about Struan and Kybybolite Best Practice Demonstration Farm.

    The Struan and Kybybolite Best Practice Demonstration Farm are a partnership between the Thomas Elder Institute, Elders’ research, development and extension entity, and the South Australian Government’s Department of Primary Industries and Regions.