2015 Speakers

We are delighted to announce the presenter list for LandWISE 2015.

Invited Overseas Speakers

(in alphabetical order)

RobertFitch2Robert Fitch, Australian Centre for Field Robotics, University of Sydney.

Robert is a leading researcher in the area of autonomous field robotics and their application to key problems in agriculture and environmental monitoring. He works on planning and collaborative decision-making for both ground and aerial robots in a variety of government and industry projects in broad-acre agriculture, horticulture, bird tracking, and commercial aviation.

Rob will present work in the development of robotics and intelligent systems for improving land and labour productivity of farms, and will provide examples from the broad-acre agriculture, tree crop, and vegetable industries.

Cheryl-McCarthyCheryl McCarthy, National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture, University of Southern Queensland.

Cheryl is developing machine vision and sensing systems for agriculture. She has worked on machine vision projects for the beef, fodder and macadamia industries and her current projects include precision sensing of weeds and RPAS (UAV) automated surveillance of crop hotspots for improved management.

Cheryl’s presentation will focus on machine vision technologies and applications (with examples in irrigation, crop growth monitoring, weeds and remotely piloted aircraft/UAVs)

TristanPerez1Tristan Perez, Professor of Robotics at the School of Electrical Eng. & Computer Science at Queensland University of Technology.

Tristan is  working on projects related to Agricultural robotics, control of unmanned aircraft  and energy-based modelling and motion control of field robots. QUT’s AgBot is 2m long, 3m wide and 1.4 m high. Such platform can operate cooperatively and autonomously in a swarm concept in applications of weed management, fertilising, and seeding.

Invited New Zealand Presenters

(in alphabetical order)

John AhearnJohn Ahearn, GPS Control Systems.

John Comes from an extensive engineering background, he has spent time with many prominent companies including Trimble Navigation and is a reservist with the New Zealand Navy. He established GPS Control Systems after noticing a large need for Precision Farming products in New Zealand. In addition to his work in agriculture, he continues to provide specialist GPS support to significant national organisations.

geoff-low-res-e1423206134526Geoff Bates, Atelier Tech and Callaghan Innovation.

Geoff founded Atelier Tech Ltd and developed a range of farming related products particularly for dairy farming. With Bert Quin he founded Pastoral Robotics Ltd to develop a range of autonomous automation solutions for pastoral farming with a focus on mitigating water pollution and fertiliser waste. Come to LandWISE 2015 and meet Mini-ME and Spikey!


Dan Bloomer, LandWISE Inc, Centre for Land and Water

Dan is an independent consultant and Manager of LandWISE and Director of the Centre for Land and Water where the LandWISE MicroFarm is based. His work involves identification and development of good farm practices with particular emphasis on technologies to aid better use of soil and water resources. Dan is a Board Member of Irrigation New Zealand and Precision Agriculture New Zealand.

Tom BotterillTom BotterillComputer Science and Software Engineering, University of Canterbury

Tom is developing navigation techniques for mobile robots using computer vision.  ‘I develop systems that allow a robot, with a single digital camera attached, to position itself as it moves through the world. My system infers the robot’s motion as its view changes, recognises previously-visited locations, and recognises objects and uses their known size to improve the robot’s motion estimate.

JohnChapmanJohn Chapman, Product Specialist for seeding and cultivation equipment, Power Farming.

John spent 15 years managing farms in Suffolk and Norfolk in the UK after graduating with an MSc in Farm Management. His  experience with rotations involving many different crops involved many cultivation techniques, as well as a wide range of cultivators and drills to achieve quality seed beds and successful crop establishment in all sorts of conditions and soil types.
FinlaysonChristina_200x200Christina Finlayson, Research Associate, Plant & Food Research

Christina’s work focuses on increasing the productivity of vegetable and arable crops while minimising potential environmental impacts. Following the development of pea crops at the LandWISE MicroFarm, and seeing possible effects of plant growth regulators to manipulate flowering, Christina and colleagues began a series of experiments to understand where variability in vining pea crops originates and magnifies.

MilesGraftonMiles Grafton, Institute of Agriculture & Environment, Massey University

Miles worked in the agricultural aviation industry before researching causes of material flow problems in aircraft. Involved in  developing computer controlled automated delivery systems  for variable rate application of bulk solids from agricultural aircraft, he has also studied fertiliser ballistics for improved application accuracy.

GertHattinghGert Hattingh,  Industry Research Champion, Waikato Institute of Technology.

Gert’s current work involves finding ways to build more sustainable and energy efficient homes, finding better ways for the normal household to live sustainably, and evaluating new technologies. In ag, he has developed low power wireless network systems to connect multiple types of sensors and deliver data to the cloud. An array of soil moisture sensors is being trialled at the MicroFarm.

BruceMacDonaldBruce MacDonaldElectrical & Computer Engineering, University of Auckland.

Associate Professor Bruce MacDonald completed a BE (1st class) and Ph.D in the Electrical Engineering department of the University of Canterbury.

His long term goal is to design intelligent robotic assistants that improve the quality of peoples’ lives, with primary research interests in human robot interaction and robot programming systems, and applications in areas such as healthcare and agriculture. He is the director of the department’s robotics group and a leader for the multidisciplinary CARES robotics team at the University of Auckland. He is the leader of Faculty of Engineering research theme Technology for Health, and Chairman for NZ’s robotics, automation and sensing association.


Peter Schaare, Bio-engineering, Plant & Food Research.

Peter specialises in designing measuring instruments for biological applications including non-destructive measurement technologies, optical instrumentation, spectroscopy, ultrasonics and automation. He is currently investigating laser technologies to assess the mineral nutrient status of plant material in the field.

BruceSearle200Bruce Searle, Sustainable Production, Plant & Food Research

Bruce’s work focuses on developing profitable production outcomes for vegetable and crop production systems. Recent work has involved understanding crop nutrient management in response to spatial and temporal variability of nutrients, and looking at ways to quantify factors that lead to variability in yield and quality of crops, including plant characteristics, crop growing conditions and crop management.

Ian YuleIan Yule, Professor in Precision Agriculture, Massey University.

Ian’s work spans cropping, viticulture and pasture production. One of the developers of the C-Dax Pasturemeter he has continued to research pasture measurement methods including remote sensing. Ian brought electromagnetic soil mapping to New Zealand. With others this work has been fundamental to the successful adoption of precision irrigation both here in New Zealand and overseas.



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