Expo focuses on agriculture, to be precise

The West Australian
Michael Eyres from Injekta Field Systems conducts a soil pit assessment and analysis at Corrigin in conjunction with the farmer and DPIRD tour participants.
Camera IconMichael Eyres from Injekta Field Systems conducts a soil pit assessment and analysis at Corrigin in conjunction with the farmer and DPIRD tour participants. Credit: no

Farmers and industry delegates turned up from near and far to learn more about advancements in precision agriculture at Corrigin recently.

The Corrigin Precision Agriculture Expo was held by the Society of Precision Agriculture Australia and attracted local farmers, advisers, precision agriculture specialists, Muresk tertiary students and Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development representatives.

Speakers included Frank D’Emden from Precision Agronomics Australia, Peter Newman from Planfarm, Craig Larke, a Corrigin farmer who is also the president of Corrigin Farm Improvement Group, Bindi Isbister from Precision Agriculture, Daniel Dempster, a farmer discussing a Wheatbelt NRM project he and his brother Rob are taking part in, and Michael Eyres from Injekta Field Systems.

The CFIG- and Wheatbelt NRM-driven program highlighted precision agriculture technologies in use in WA farming and the relative ease and cost-effective ways to start PA adoption.

Mr D’Emden talked about mapping in farm management, sharing his specialist knowledge in outlining mapping options and their cost to benefit ratio.

He focused on using data to create high-resolution soil and prescription maps for variable rate applications, and discussed the return on investment financially and through productivity gains.

Ms Isbister compared different methods for defining within paddock management.

This was the first time the data was presented back to the region in a public forum.

Information about this project included the trial sites, what was measured, what the results were and how it could be correlated to produce maps and make management decisions.

Two Wheatbelt farmers reported on the adoption of precision agriculture upon their farm. Mr Larke reported on the PA data generated as one of the four farms in the case study which Ms Isbister described. “It’s important for quick processing of data so that farm management decisions can subsequently be made,” he said.

He also explained the reasons why a farmer may hold back on using precision agriculture data.

The Demspter brothers, who are participants in a project on radiometric and electromagnetic surveys for more efficient fertiliser use, reported that although the mapping had gone well and there were definite zones, there were mixed results in relation to variable rate fertiliser application.

Mr Newman from Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative discussed patch-spraying green weeds in green crops, outlining how UAVs can be used to capture images and use those images to develop prescription maps for spot-spraying weeds in green crops based on leaf size and shape.

He explained the potential to find glyphosate-resistant weeds in fallow and the option to identify weeds in spring, stressing it was important to have the right UAV and camera with good resolution.

“Another year or two is required to find a solution,” he said.

Mr Eyres conducted two soil pit assessments, identifying and describing the soil variability and what it means for subsequent farm management.

The DPIRD had been running its own soil trial tour through WA at the same time, and the organisers created an option so the tour attendees could attend the expo.

Consequently there were several soil experts in the audience who were invited to comment on the soil structure being reviewed.

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