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Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture

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Project name Increasing on-farm productivity and sustainability through the use of Precision Agriculture techniques
Funding bodies Tasmanian Government
Chief Investigators John McPhee
Contributors Tasmanian Agricultural Productivity Group (TAPG), Serve-Ag
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This project, announced by the Tasmanian Government in 2015, aims to build awareness of the production and environmental benefits of using precision agriculture (PA) technologies.

The target audience for this project is agricultural stakeholders in the supply chain, including farmers, agronomists, field officers, contractors, and agri-business.

Aims of the project

Using mapped data to inform decisions about vari-rate nutrition and vari-rate irrigation techniques, the project aims to not only help boost crop yields, but also reduce fertiliser costs, improve irrigation techniques and provide information to make better farm management decisions.

The project will use six Tasmanian demonstration sites (Sisters Creek, Forth, Hagley, Longford, Waterhouse, Tunbridge) as a means to:

  • Raise awareness and increase adoption of PA best practices via implementation of PA methodologies and concepts.
  • Identify on-farm variability soils and crops in terms of scale and commercial implication.
  • Provide advice on identification of soil constraints and in-season challenges to target appropriate inputs and amelioration techniques for crops in vegetable rotations
  • Provide advice to manage and protect land using better targeted, strategic applications of farm inputs
  • Offer an avenue for shared experiences, develop leadership and networks
  • Increase landholder knowledge in precision land management.

This research will build capacity in the production aspect of farming with precision agriculture techniques, and will encourage an increased awareness of soil constraints and environmental responsibilities in farming.

Farm Demonstration Sites

The project is supporting the application of PA techniques and delivery of PA analysis on six regional case study sites that broadly represent the soils, farm management practices and rotational cropping enterprises relevant to the local area.

The project has established commercial-scale, on-farm case study sites on properties in the Meander Valley, Northern Midlands, North-east, Tunbridge and on the North-west Coast.

The aim is to give farmers, advisors and agri-business partners the opportunity to observe and assess the use of PA systems in relation to their own businesses.

The project team intends to identify and address the main productivity constraint/s for each case study site or crop as it actively grows.

Location of farm demonstration sites

Demonstration site characteristics

Sisters Creek - potatoes, vegetables, cereals and poppies

Forth - vegetables, cereals and poppies

Hagley - cereals, peas, seed potatoes, onions, poppies, grass seed

Waterhouse - seed potatoes and forage

Longford - onions, broccoli and grass seed

Tunbridge - poppies and grass seed

  • Intensive irrigation in dry climate
  • Poppy production
  • Salinity management strategies
  • Crop vigour analysis

Want to know more?

John McPhee explains Precision Agriculture in this video.