2016 Speakers

We are delighted to announce the presenter list for LandWISE 2016: The value of smart farming.

Invited Overseas Speakers

(in alphabetical order)

Ian Layden, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland

Ian Layden

Ian is Leader, Horticultural Systems (Innovation) at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland.  Ian joined DAF in 2005.  He now leads the department’s effort in precision agriculture RD&E for horticultural systems and manages a small team of horticulturists. Current work focuses on how precision agriculture might be used in intensive horticulture to both improve productivity and reduce offsite effects.

His work was recognised by the 2010 Queensland Stormwater Association award for Excellence in Research, Innovation, Policy and Education and the Queensland Premiers Rural “ClimateSmart’ Award in 2011.  In 2016 he was elected as a committee member of the Society of Precision Agriculture Australia (SPAA).  Ian is based at the Maroochy Research Facility, north of Brisbane.

John McPhee, Farming Systems Researcher, University of Tasmania

John McPhee

John works in the Vegetable Centre, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, University of Tasmania, based at the Burnie campus. He has undertaken a range of work in the Tasmanian vegetable industry over the past 25 years. With a focus on the need for improved soil management and efficiency in vegetable production, he has led a series of controlled traffic projects over the past decade. John first presented at LandWISE 2008. This year he returns to update us on work in precision farming in vegetable crops.

Julie O’Halloran, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland

JulieOHalloran1Julie is a Senior Development Horticulturist with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries working in horticulture in the Lockyer and Fassifern Valleys in south-east Queensland.

Julie’s projects include cover cropping, nutrient uptake and budgeting and controlled traffic farming.  More recently her work has focused on the adaption of existing precision agriculture technologies into horticulture.  This has involved the use of a range of crop sensing technologies to assess spatial crop variability, strategic soil and plant tissue sampling, variable rate soil amendment and fertiliser applications and geo-referenced yield monitoring.

Tristan Perez, Professor of Robotics and Autonomous Systems,  Queensland University of Technology, Australia.

TristanPerez1Tristan’s background spans electrical and mechanical engineering, robotics, mathematical systems theory, and decision science.

Tristan leads the IntelliSensing Enabling Platform research theme at QUT’s Institute for Future Environments. He also leads QUT’s agricultural robotics team which has developed AgBot II – part of a new generation of crop and weed management robots – and Harvey, the capsicum robotic harvester. He is working with the agricultural industry in areas of robotics, automation, data analytics and decisions under uncertainty.

Invited New Zealand Speakers

(in alphabetical order)

Jane Adams, Adams Harman Consulting Ltd

Jane AdamsJane Adams is a Science and Innovation consultant and works with the primary sector to develop and manage research strategies and the commercialisation of research. She currently manages Research and Innovation for Onions New Zealand.

Jane has been involved in strategic management of research in commercial companies (ZESPRI, GFW Ltd), academic and research institutions, and at a national level.  Jane started her career as a plant scientist with DSIR, later HortResearch, then as a scientist and development manager in the private sector.  Jane has held senior management roles in tertiary education and commercial business sectors.

James Beech – Senior Data Scientist at BNZ

James BeechJames has over 12 years’ experience in software development, advanced analytics, data visualisation. His experience spans across financial services, Telco and the Agricultural sector.

Since the introduction of big data and the ability to store, analysis and process these vast sums it has introduced opportunities for greater efficiencies. James is interested in the application of this data through the use of statistical and analytic techniques to solve business problems. James also works for Brera Group consulting on issues across the Agri and Financial services.

Dan Bloomer, LandWISE Inc, Centre for Land and Water

DanBloomer200Dan is Manager of LandWISE, an independent consultant  and the Founder and  Director of the Centre for Land and Water where the LandWISE MicroFarm is based.

Described as “linking thinking from the farm out”, 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 an Executive Committee Member of Precision Agriculture New Zealand.

Stu Bradbury, Sprout, BCC

Stu BradburyStu is Entrepreneur in Residence at Sprout, the Manawatu based agritech accelerator programme developed by BCC.

Stu is the Founder and CEO of ‘Where’s my Cows’ and ‘Precision Irrigation’ (acquired by Lindsay Corporation USA) and Managing Director of AgriOptics North. Stu has extensive experience in commercialising products and services in the agricultural sector and has developed strong exit planning skills.

Megan Cushnahan, Massey University

Megan_CushnahanMegan is a PhD student at Massey University’s NZ Centre for Precision Agriculture. With over 15 years’ experience as an agronomic consultant in the sports turf sector, she brings a wide range of real-world skills to the academic platform.

The focus of Megan’s PhD is on the research and development process of PA technology. In her previous roles, Megan advised on many different types of turf throughout the world and has significant experience in warm-season (Asia and Pacific Islands), cool-season (UK, Europe) and transitional climates (New Zealand, Australia).

In addition to her agronomic experience, Megan worked as a Business Development Manager for the New Zealand Sports Turf Institute and has held several governance roles. Megan has presented over 100 talks at conferences, seminars and field days in New Zealand and abroad.

David Herries, Interpine Innovation

david herriesAs General Manager, David is instrumental in developing Interpine’s strong reputation as an integrated solution provider for the forest industry.   Established in 1983, Interpine provide consulting and technical services to the forest industry predominately throughout New Zealand and Australia.  David’s specialist skill sets and passion include resource valuation, forest mensuration, log optimisation systems, LiDAR remote sensing, carbon monitoring, and software and system development / deployment.

Paul Johnstone, Plant and Food Research

Paul JohnstonePaul leads the Field Crops science group at Plant & Food Research. His research interests include integrated mixed cropping systems and practices that deliver sustainable and profitable production outcomes for the arable, vegetable and forage sectors. He has worked extensively on nutrient management issues, and leads PFR’s activity to measure nutrient losses from cropping systems in the new industry SFF initiative ‘Root Zone Reality’.

Charles MerfieldFuture Farming Centre, Lincoln, Canterbury.

MerfieldCharles Merfield, AKA ‘Merf’ has worked on both sides of the science/farming fence, having started out as a vegetable grower in both the UK and NZ before joining academia in the mid 1990s.  He and the Future Farming Center focus on sustainable and permanent agriculture, undertaking practical science and translating it into even more practical advice, to help farmers and growers achieve their goals.

Simon Morris, Altus Unmanned Aerial Solutions. 

Simon MorrisSimon is the Altus UAS Chief Operating Officer. He has more than 15 years of GIS experience in addition to a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems and GIS from Massey and over 6 years in the commercial UAV sector. He has a strong understanding of the requirements and applications of these technologies from both an operational and planning perspective.

His career includes RNZAF roles as a pilot and geospatial support embedded with the NZ Special Air Service domestically and overseas.  In 2007 Simon joined Rayonier in the forestry industry and ever since has been engaged with commercial UAS technology.

Alistair Mowat, innovation and strategic management consultant

Alistair MowattAlistair works within the primary industry including a role with the Plus Group on that automation, precision agriculture and sustainable production systems projects .  He is also co-leader of the value chain theme within the “Our Land and Water” National Science Challenge.

Alistair has held roles as a Principal Advisor in Strategy at the Ministry for Primary Industries, an Innovation Leader at Zespri International Limited and as a Scientist at HortResearch. Within Zespri he led a range of initiatives including Sustainability, Taste Zespri and ZESPRI GOLD production systems.  Previously, Alistair worked on developing persimmon as an export crop.  In all his roles, Alistair has had a strong focus on value chains and their optimisation.

Justin Pishief, Centre for Land and Water

Justin Pishief 2Justin is resident IT Consultant at the Centre for Land and Water in Hastings, NZ.  With numerous years in senior IT leadership roles managing both people and processes he has vast experience in software engineering, operations, sales, support, and customer service sectors has provided exposure and insight across all facets of business.

At the Centre for Land and Water he leads technical work in crop sensing and GIS including accessing and processing satellite data. He has used onion crop imagery and field assessments to create economic field maps, showing areas where money is made and lost.

Bruce Searle, Plant & Food Research

BruceSearle200Bruce was appointed Team Leader of Crop Physiology in 2008. Based in Hawke’s Bay, his 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. Bruce is leading the Plant and Food work in the joint project with LandWISE for OnionsNZ.

Sarah Sinton, Plant & Food Research

Sarah Sinton

Sarah began her career at MAF, Ruakura in 1971, and has been involved with research into improving crop production and quality since the 1990’s. She has been through various organisational changes, including MAF and Crop & Food Research, and is now in Plant & Food Research.

The crops she has worked with include cereals, legumes, asparagus, sugar beet, fodder beet, and potatoes. The potato research began with field trials to optimise nutrient, water and planting densities for a range of New Zealand-bred cultivars. The knowledge gained was used to construct a potato growth model, which was then developed into a user-friendly “potato calculator”, specifically designed to help optimise nitrogen and water inputs. The calculator was then sold and commercially released for online use. Sarah is currently part of a Plant and Food research team at Lincoln focussed on establishing the reasons for the “yield gap” in NZ potato crops.

Chris Smith, Agri-Optics

Chris SmithWith over 25 years’ in farming, both in NZ and the UK, Chris has a wide range of experience covering all aspects of agricultural management from improved production to a range of environmental schemes and enterprises. He moved to NZ in 2007 from the UK with his family to manage a mixed 600ha cropping farm in Canterbury until late 2012. From there he joined the Agri Optics team as Field Service manager, running the EM survey side of the business.

Chris has over 15,000ha of experience in EM Soil Mapping, worked with a range of variable rate application technologies and with on farm computer systems for over 15 years. In the UK Chris was involved from the early stages with variable rate nutrient application from grid soil sampling, canopy imagery for variable rate applications and yield mapping.

Armin Werner, Lincoln Agritech

Armin WernerArmin Werner was trained as an agronomist (yield formation of arable crops, optimising cropping procedures) at the University of Bonn and on crop modelling at Michigan State University. Armin worked for 20 years as the head of the Institute of Land Use Systems at the Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research in Germany (ZALF).

Armin is Precision Agriculture Science Group Manager at Lincoln Agritech, where he leads work on precision agriculture (‘Digital Farming’),  the advanced management systems for arable crops, horticulture, pasture management and lately livestock. The focus is on solutions to increase profitability and to reduce ecological footprints.  He teaches a Precision Agriculture course at Lincoln University

Roger Williams, NZ Institute for Plant and Food Research

Roger Williams works at The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited (PFR) where he is responsible for the leadership and management of 130 scientists and technical staff researching all aspects of the sustainable production of horticultural and arable crops in New Zealand. Before joining PFR in 2014 he was the Director of Research Development at the Foundation for Arable Research, where his main focus was the impact of freshwater management policy on the cropping sector. He is a member of the governance committee of the Precision Agriculture Association of New Zealand.

Chee Kit Wong, Callaghan Innovation

Chee Kit WongKit is a member of the Intelligent Machines and Devices Group at Callaghan Innovation. He received his PhD in 2008 for his research in cognitive inspired mapping and navigation on an autonomous robot from AUT University.

Kit’s current research interests include autonomous robotics, and the application of intelligent spatial analysis in dealing with variations in natural products and environment.