Ground Cover Supplement : GC Supplement - Precision Agriculture 2005
INTEGRATED FARM MANAGEMENT GROUND COVER PRECISION AGRICULTURE 14 THE AUSTRALIAN CENTRE for Precision Agriculture (ACPA) at the University of Sydney is looking at a prac- tical approach to utilising PA tools. The team's goal is the exploration and delivery of a generic strategy for the efficient inte- gration of information from crop, soil and environmental sensing systems into farm management. Working as part of the GRDC PA Initiative, with a number of grower groups and their consultants from around Australia, means that various differences in crop production systems can be consid- ered and options tailored to suit. The table (facing page) provides a sum- mary of the generic pathway that has been developed and considered by project par- ticipants. The steps are to be considered in numerical order so that the most benefit is gained with the least additional cost. This does not mean they cannot be applied in conjunction, but each additional step in this process does require some new tools or techniques to be acquired and applied. When we concentrate on the use of PA at the within-paddock scale, it is at steps two and three that most progress is being made. The team has been researching the most efficient approach (in terms of cost and descriptive ability) to completing From sowing to selling -- PA techniques' whole-of-farm promise PRECISION AGRICULTURE IS ABOUT MORE THAN KNOWING WHERE TO PUT EXTRA FERTILISER. FOR EXAMPLE, THE HIGHEST-PROTEIN GRAIN COULD BE SEGREGATED FOR SPECIAL ORDERS, BY BRETT WHELAN AND JAMES TAYLOR Showing the way: inside a modern header fitted with PA technology. PHOTO BRAD COLLIS these steps. The approach being examined involves: ¢measuring spatial variability in the pad- dock (at present best described by soil electrical conductivity -- ECa, crop yield maps and digital elevation models); ¢determining the number and location of potential management zones if the vari- ation is deemed suitable; ¢direct soil/crop sampling and analysis within the management zones to inves- tigate practical causes of variation; and ¢interpreting test results and instigating remedial action if indicated, or design- ing within-paddock experimentation for input response measurement, which can be used in the future with basic seasonal prediction information. Figure 1 shows the results of this proc- ess in a 50-hectare paddock in Crystal Brook, South Australia. The uniform appli- cation rate for nitrogen was 15 kilograms per hectare. The in-season rainfall was slightly above average (decile 6); how- ever, 77 per cent fell during the first three months and only four millimetres was received during grain filling in October. For this type of season, the results suggest that zones one and three were under-fertilised by the uniform rate and zone two was over-fertilised in terms of achieving the economically optimum barley yield. Results of this type are being shown across crop types and agro-ecologi- cal regions. What is not considered in a basic yield optimisation experiment is the impact of nitrogen and soil moisture supply on the protein content of the grain. Having a grain protein sensor mounted on-harvester would provide valuable data to be used in conjunction with yield data.
GC Supplement - Nutrient Management 2006
GC Supplement - Grain Storage 2005