New predictive GIS (Geographic Information System) technology is being hailed with
“Farmers in Queensland’s peanut capital of Kingaroy.. at the front line of a precision agriculture program which could revolutionise the Australian farming industry”…
BUT multinational Israeli fertilizer company Haifa is accusing Australian farmers of being ultra traditional, lacking vision and missing opportunities. (The Australian, 27 May 2014). It compares them with northern Italian winegrowers, similarly traditional, who HAVE changed the way they grow grapes to improve their yield (!)
“At this stage the most important use of the technology for peanut growers and industry stakeholders is yield prediction…
We create GIS maps which display yield variability layers derived from satellite imagery using specific algorithms, along with additional spatial information that together have enabled accurate yield predictions at the regional, farm and crop level to be produced.
Knowing halfway through a season what to expect at harvest time is a powerful advantage.
Peanut farmers and industry stakeholders can then budget, plan their storage and handling requirements, and develop appropriate marketing strategies depending on the expected crop size.
The ground-breaking technology has a wide range of other potential uses in the industry, including the ability to determine the maturity of underground peanut pods which, until now, has been very difficult.”
PCA Breeding and Innovation Manager Dr Graeme Wright says farmers no longer have to be GIS experts or have expensive software to use the Cloud-based technology.
“And, as the use of this technology grows, it is going to revolutionise the paddock-to-plate concept – by allowing us to trace produce right back to an individual supplier.
That is a really big deal particularly in the high-end markets like Japan and Korea.
This is a technology which will make Australian farmers more competitive – I believe we’ve only just scratched the surface in its potential applications.”
The Esri Australia M D Brett Bundock says similar GIS applications are being developed for other major Australian agricultural industries, including sugar cane, avocados and cotton.
“This farming expertise and technology can also be exported, so Australia’s agribusiness sector is likely to not only become increasingly effective to the local economy as a primary producer but also a service provider to overseas market” Dr Andrew Robson.
And the wheel turns..