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Agtech and automation field day for growers at Tosari

Growers are invited to a field day showcasing the latest agricultural technology advancements including the first fully autonomous fixed wing spray drone in operation.
Photo: University of Southern Queensland

An autonomous, fixed wing spray drone and other cutting-edge technology and automation will be the focus of a field day for grain growers being held at Pampas on the Darling Downs in early September.

The ‘What’s new in Ag’ field day has been developed to showcase how growers can use advanced agricultural technology for informing decision-making during dry times and effectively navigating seasonal fluctuations.

The event will also feature the official launch of a new Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC) partnership project Changing the Game – Resilience to Seasonal Variations & Drought through Ag Tech – developed in collaboration with the University of Southern Queensland (UniSQ), the Queensland Crop Research Centre (QCR) and the Southern QLD and Northern NSW Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub (SQNNSW Drought Hub).

RDC Senior Regional Manager, North Gillian Meppem says the GRDC, UniSQ, QCR project aims to validate developments in digital agriculture and automation at a commercial scale to provide growers with a better understanding of the technology available and data collection opportunities to better support decision making to de-risk enterprises, particularly in challenging seasons.

“GRDC look forward to the Tosari field day where growers can view first-hand the newly operational digital farm command centre and a variety of advancements in agricultural technology, including the first fully autonomous fixed wing spray drone in operation,” says Ms Meppem.

“Our goal is to work with research partners to provide tangible solutions that not only improve yields, but also ensure the long-term sustainability and resilience of our farming practices, especially in the face of climate variability.

“On the ground R&D investments, with partners such as UniSQ and QCR, aim to equip Australian growers with practical tools and knowledge to navigate seasonal challenges and highlight the new digital solutions available to manage crop nutrition and water.”

Hosted by Elders, Nutrien Ag Solutions, and EPG Seeds, September 8 at the Tosari Crop Research Centre, 1149 Millmerran-Leyburn Road, Tummaville from at 8.30am.

Elders technical services manager and Board member, Maree Crawford says the day's agenda will begin with an opening address from GRDC, introducing the AgTech project and highlighting the collaborative efforts of industry to improve drought resilience.

“The event will cover a lot of information centred around crop protection, nutrition, wheat, barley, oats, canola genetics, pasture and agronomy practice resilience and improvements – all essential for drought preparedness and resilience” she says.

Elders State General Manager Lisa Hewitt says the collaborative efforts to support agtech applications will directly benefit Australian grain growers, offering solutions that are timely, relevant and actionable.

"Our focus is on validating developments in digital agriculture and automation in addition to testing new commercial products that provide solutions to problems for farmers. With the support of our partners, we aim to provide growers with strategies and tools that are both practical and effective in managing drought-related risks," she says.

University of Southern Queensland’s Ag Tech Researcher Michael Scobie says throughout the day, attendees will have the opportunity to engage with the UniSQ team, deepening their understanding of the showcased technologies and their potential benefits.

“This informal setting will feature live demonstrations and an exclusive look at the command centre. The command centre is an interactive dashboard which captures and presents data collected in the field from smart sensing systems to allow farmers to understand conditions on farm,” he says.

“This information can then be used to make informed decisions on farming operations and improve data management by utilising data such as irrigation application, dam storage, bore levels and soil moisture content.

“This is an ideal training environment for agronomists as they can learn the theory and experience the practice virtually in one location, providing them with the skills to advise on any number of issues in the agricultural cropping industry.”

The field day will also provide an opportunity for growers to view developments on the Darling Downs based Queensland Crop Research Centre, a GRDC and Queensland Government $11m co-investment made in 2017.

Event details:

  • Date: 8 September
  • Location: Tosari Crop Research Centre, 1149 Millmerran-Leyburn Road, Tummaville. Parking on Yarramalong Road
  • Time: 8.30am – 3.00pm

For further details or to RSVP, please contact Maree Crawford on 0427 757 418.

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