Tech­nol­ogy use leads farm­ing trends in 2015

Australian Farmers & Dealers Journal - - NEWS -

AUS­TRALIAN farm­ers are lead­ing the world in adopting pre­ci­sion agriculture tech­nol­ogy. Take-up has been con­sis­tent across all states, and while up to 80 per cent of broad­acre farm­ers use it, it's not just for large grain grow­ers with large units — hor­ti­cul­tur­ists, fruit, veg­etable and sugar-cane farm­ers are also tak­ing ad­van­tage of pre­ci­sion agriculture tech­nol­ogy, hav­ing it pro­fes­sion­ally fit­ted to their 60-100 horse­power trac­tors. Case IH Re­gional Mar­ket­ing Man­ager for Pre­ci­sion So­lu­tions Rob Johnson says pre­ci­sion agriculture has been steadily adopted across the coun­try, with no par­tic­u­lar re­gional drivers. He also says he's no­ticed two par­tic­u­lar trends in 2015. “While the ini­tial adop­tion of pre­ci­sion agriculture was in spray­ing, now its use for spread­ing fer­til­izer and sow­ing has grown too,” he said. “We've seen growth of 20pc this year of Aus­tralian farm­ers adopting so­lu­tions for rate and sec­tion con­trol. This is when dur­ing sow­ing you can switch your im­ple­ment on or off as you pass over a cer­tain area, thus re­duc­ing in­put costs. There's a con­stant fo­cus by farm­ers to­wards higher ef­fi­ciency, and pre­ci­sion agriculture is cer­tainly one tool to achieve that.” The sec­ond trend Mr Johnson has no­ticed is in­creased ac­cu­racy in place­ment. “Com­pared with pre­vi­ous years, there's been a 30pc in­crease in Aus­tralian farm­ers this year adopting RTK with 2.5-cen­time­tre ac­cu­racy. ‘RTK' stands for ‘Real Time Kine­matic' satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion, and it boosts the pre­ci­sion of po­si­tion data that comes from satel­lite-based po­si­tion­ing sys­tems, such as those used in pre­ci­sion agriculture,” Mr Johnson said. “Case IH was an in­no­va­tor to ac­cess the GLONASS Rus­sian satel­lite con­stel­la­tion, so our cus­tomers can now ac­cess a higher num­ber of satel­lites in the south­ern hemi­sphere. This ac­ces­si­bil­ity is a stan­dard fea­ture in the Case IH 372 AFS re­ceivers.” Sugar mills along the east coast have a co-op­er­a­tive RTK net­work, help­ing all farm­ers in the re­gion be more pro­duc­tive in planting and har­vest­ing. “The tech­nol­ogy is here to make grow­ers' lives eas­ier and sim­pler, and man­u­fac­tur­ers are in­te­grat­ing it into prod­ucts. The abil­ity these tech­nolo­gies and in­no­va­tions give farm­ers to con­trol and im­prove ac­cu­racy op­ti­mises in­puts, so max­imises pro­duc­tiv­ity and yields.” Mr Johnson said there are a cou­ple of rea­sons driv­ing Aus­tralian farm­ers' strong up­take of in­no­va­tions and tech­nol­ogy in 2015. “Aus­tralian farm­ers tend to be early adopters of new tech­nol­ogy, and on top of that, there have been big of­fers from man­u­fac­tur­ers this year — in fi­nance as well as new tech­nol­ogy — so we can cer­tainly at­tribute this sup­port to at least some of the in­creased adop­tion, by help­ing to make tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced prod­ucts more af­ford­able,” he said. “Hav­ing data and sup­port for your de­ci­sion mak­ing from that data is the fu­ture for ef­fi­cient farm­ers. What's com­ing up from Case IH next is con­nec­tiv­ity. The in­ter­ac­tion of data to help with de­ci­sion mak­ing is the next fron­tier, giv­ing the abil­ity to share on-farm data with trusted as­so­ciates like your Case IH dealer or agron­o­mist. That tech­nol­ogy from Case IH is very close.” Mr Johnson said Case IH is an in­ter­na­tional leader in in­no­va­tion, yet lo­cal ex­perts at the heart of Aus­tralian farm­ing needs, with deal­ers pro­vid­ing global agriculture knowl­edge and home-grown sup­port for all ma­chin­ery re­quire­ments.

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