Emerging technology and precision agriculture
This guide summarises useful information developed by the Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection (ICP) Phase 1 projects from 2014-2017, and where to find it. These resources are relevant to all major vegetable growing regions in Australia. The resources developed includes fact sheets (51), case studies (12), videos and apps (36), e-newsletters (32 editions), as well as demonstration site information. The main topics covered by these resources include crop management, pest and disease management, and soil, nutrition and compost.
All the resources in this guide can be found on this project website.
The Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection projects provide R&D extension services, products and communication on improved soil management and plant health to the Australian vegetable industry.
Over the past 3-years, RMCG and AHR have delivered the projects for Horticulture Innovation Australia. Phase 1 of the projects have now been completed. So, what’s been achieved?
Six years ago, Rob Hinrichsen and his team at Kalfresh decided to focus on four key practices – controlled tra c, cover crops, soil biology and compost – to improve the soil health across their farms. The main drivers were to improve crop yield and quality, as well as the sustainability of the business.
Rob’s emphasis on softer tillage, boosting organic matter with compost and cover crops has helped the soil recover and support a healthy population of beneficial soil organisms. Rob supplements the naturally occurring biology by using specific beneficial organisms to improve the robustness of his farming system.
This case study provides insights into some of the main changes involving controlled traffic, cover crops and compost at the Kalfresh demonstration site in Queensland.
Precision agriculture (or PA) uses a combination of new technology and existing agronomic knowledge to maximise farm efficiency.
Watch the recording of this one-hour interactive session facilitated by the National Vegetable Extension Network (VegNET) in Victoria (N, W, SE regions) and Tasmania, funded by Hort Innovation using the vegetable industry levy and funds from the Australian Government.
Hear from Rob Hinrichsen of Kalfresh in QLD about using controlled traffic in commercial vegetable production systems.
This video captures Rob's experiences with the technology achieving 'growing zones' and 'driving zones', the benefits of reduced tillage down from 11-12 passes to 2-3 passes, the costs of transitioning the cultivation system, as well as how the business piloted the technology before making the big change.
Will a potential change to soil management increase profit? How do we assess whether a change we’ve already made was profitable? One way to answer these questions is to use a ‘partial budget’. A partial budget assesses additional revenue and reduced revenue, additional costs and reduced costs to work out the net change in profit. A partial budget only includes items that change.
An on farm trial tests the yield or economic effect of a management treatment on an agricultural system. This information can then form the basis for wider application of the treatment in other parts of the farm. Precision Agriculture (PA) tools offer a simple and effective means to implement and measure such trials as part of a normal farming operation. This booklet uses working examples of how PA tools have enabled growers to measure the economic returns of treatments to help them with whole farm decisions.
Crop sensing is allowing the adoption of variable rate management to address yield variability, improve management of inputs and maximise productivity.
Check out how precision farming techniques are being adapted to vegetable production.
A summary of the importance of soil, soil science and good soil management from a Victorian perspective.
Ed Windley and Ben Moore are vegetable growers from Kalbar, Queensland. In conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Ed and Ben are trialling new practices such as controlled traffic and variable rate applications to maximise efficiency on their farms.
This helpful fact sheet outlines the key information required to get the best out of your chemical application.
A reduced till system on this Cowra vegetable farm delivered soil, cost and crop benefits.
NSW farmers, Ed and James Fagan explain how they developed a reduced tillage vegetable farming operation in Cowra, NSW.
Reduced till is a system change that relies on keeping the soil in a healthy condition through the use of permanent beds, controlled traffic, cover cropping and crop rotations rather than frequent cultivation.