Sugar Research Australia Media Release
8 November 2013
Sugar Research Australia Ltd (SRA) and the National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture (NCEA) are holding a joint workshop on Tuesday 19 November 2013 to showcase how precision agriculture (PA) can help improve on-farm productivity and profitability. Ms Summer Olsen, Development Officer–Precision Agriculture, Professional Extension and Communication Unit, SRA said that PA is cropping up more in conversations among sugarcane growers, industry advisors and researchers.
“Growers are aware that variability exists on their land and can affect yield. However, the amount of yield variability within uniformly managed paddocks often comes as a surprise,” said Ms Olsen.
“PA aims to develop practices for managing this variability, for example – if a grower identifies areas with sodic soils then they can apply gypsum only to the affected areas.
“By using targeted management options growers can significantly reduce their costs, manage environmental constraints and have more confidence in the actions they take.”
GPS guidance and controlled traffic technologies are used by many growers in the Central region already.
The workshop aims to build on this existing knowledge by explaining the full capacity of this equipment. An overview of other available technologies such as remote sensing, yield monitoring and variable rate technology will be included.
“PA is not just about using the latest technology. These tools need to work hand-in-hand with data collected on the ground to produce information that can help guide detailed crop management decisions.
“The workshop will also focus on record keeping and explain how documenting farm inputs can help to interpret other information such as yield map,” she said.
“Starting with these basic aspects of PA, and an understanding of how the PA process works will allow growers to plan for more complex site-specific management later on. This will contribute to improved farming practices efficiencies and sustainability of the local industry.”