About Us

PLF Australia (Precision Livestock Farming), based in Emerald, Central Queensland, was established to design and deliver ‘best-of-breed’ sensor-based automation and real time management information for agricultural operations.

The use of sensor technology to monitor farm performance and to control systems remotely has until recently been expensive and largely proprietary – meaning vendors tend to lock in clients to their solutions and leaving the farmer client with little option but to pay for the systems and services provided.

PLF Australia is of the view that the evolution of technology to an Internet of Things (IoT) approach is going to break down proprietary structures in all industries, including in the farming sector which is one of the last to benefit from this new ubiquitous situation.

Farm management today involves considerable time for farmers to travel their property checking their fences, stock/crops, water supplies, vehicles location and so on. This activity can take hours to days and so intervention when problems are detected is often slow. In addition, livestock and crop growth and profitability can be compromised through a lack of real time information. Research shows (https://www.csiro.au/en/Research/AF/Areas/Digital-agriculture) material gains in productivity across a wide range of agricultural businesses, if real time information is presented to farmers.

Examples of the information that can be captured in real time include water levels and flow, soil moisture and temperature and animal identification, location, weight and overall wellbeing.

Connectivity is a key to the transfer of this data to a central data repository and then presentation of management information to the farmer on their mobile device. With current management information the farmer can intervene quickly to mitigate problems before they become serious and make more informed management decisions on where to foster growth and minimise costs.

The output for the farmer is a customised view of their property, the sensors installed to measure water levels, soil moisture content and temperature, access to drone recorded video of flyovers of the farm, accumulating information on animals’ weight and other critical information that raise productivity and reduce costs.

The Team

Paul Stapleton – Managing Director

Paul has over 30 years’ experience as a leader of cultural change within business, with special experience in the adoption of digital technology to improve productivity, enhance profitability and sustainability, as well as customer acquisition and retention.

Over recent years, much of this work has been undertaken throughout regional Queensland, especially in Central Queensland, including several years as advisor to HEME in Emerald.

He has been accredited for many years, with both State and Federal Governments, as an advisor and mentor in the areas of:

  • Strategic and Business Planning
  • Operations Improvement
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Human Resources

Anthony (Tony) Hellmuth - Director

Tony is also Managing director of HEME Pty Ltd since 1997. HEME is an engineering and manufacturing business located in Emerald, which currently employs 29, servicing civil, agricultural and mining. Client base is over 200 businesses located primarily across Central Queensland, with some interstate.

HEME has been awarded Business of the Year 2013, 2015 & 2017 and Manufacturer of the Year 2013, 2015 & 2017, which has resulted in it becoming the inaugural recipient of the Hall of Fame 2017.

Outside of HEME, Tony owns two cattle properties, one just outside Emerald, currently running 250 head and another north of Bundaberg, not yet stocked.

Tony has a private helicopter licence and owns a Robinson R44, which enables fast response to clients.

Keith Ellis – Livestock Expert/Advisor

Keith Ellis has enjoyed a successful career in science, spanning a number of disciplines, working in and for universities, commercial enterprises, and with the principal Australian Government research organization, CSIRO.

He has worked in Australia, USA, Britain and New Zealand, associated with groups as disparate as medical biochemistry, fisheries research, livestock nutrition, reproduction and health, and with various “Smart Space” projects to study wildlife and livestock movement and well-being, and general farm and resource management.

His work has taken him across a variety of science disciplines from radiation and kinetic chemistry, through biochemistry and enzymology, ruminant physiology, nutrition and health, to the controlled delivery of nutrients and bioactive materials (pharmaceutics) to a range of livestock species, with several divergences along the way.

Keith has always been interested in the use of analytical instrumentation and has keenly followed a progression over the past 50 years from mechanical, through electrical to electronic, and now to digital technologies. (For example, along with several highly skilled and dedicated technical and engineering individuals, he has contributed: to “home-made” recording spectrophotometers before commercial versions were readily available; to the concept of using model airplanes to monitor and muster livestock (now done by drones!); and to the continuous monitoring of intra-ruminal temperatures and pressures, gas composition and food and water intake by free-ranging cattle.)

Jose Torres – Technology Development

Jose is an IoT (Internet of Things) specialist with more than 10 years’ experience in the telecommunications sector. He completed his master’s degree in engineering in Advanced Telecommunications at the University of Adelaide in 2012, graduating with High Distinction.

His experience ranges from technical to managerial positions. He is hands on in IoT activities, deploying complex solutions for customers. Jose has been able to work with a variety of technologies and platforms including cellular, satellite, short range and IoT wireless networks. He has successfully led an Engineering team to deploy a new IoT platform for tracking assets.

Jose has a personal interest in IoT topics and has done public presentations to both Engineering Australia and Telecommunication Society Australia about IoT deployments.