PA17 – Tri-Conference on Precision Agriculture

PA17 – The International Tri-Conference for Precision Agriculture 

PA17 in Hamilton in October was three conferences in one. The 7th Asian-Australasian Conference of Precision Agriculture and the 1st Asian-Australasian Conference on Precision Pasture and Livestock Farming both have strong emphasis on research. The Digital Farmer and Grower conference was aimed at practitioners with farmers and consultants presenting and forming discussion panels. All ran in parallel with some joint sessions and delegates could jump from one to the other.

Many of the 500 delegates were international, many were younger and many were women; quite different to almost every other precision agriculture event I have attended. Also notable was the breadth of sectors represented. Precision agriculture has been strongly rooted in broadacre cropping, now we are seeing strong interest in animal management and for permanent crops such as pipfruit and viticulture.

A choice of field visits included trips to see Massey University hyperspectral research at Limestone Downs, production facilities at Gallagher Engineering, robotic milking at the LIC Automation research dairy farm and visits to FAR, Plant and Food, and Ballance AgriNutirents research sites.

Below there are short profiles of the international profile, a sample of the international speakers that presented at the international tri-conference in Hamilton.

PA17 was presented by the Precision Agriculture Association of New Zealand and chaired by Armin Werner from Lincoln Agritech.

International experts

Prof Derek Bailey
Derek Bailey is a Professor of Range Science and has been at New Mexico State University (NMSU) since 2005. He teaches courses in rangeland management, research methods, vegetative monitoring and livestock handling. In addition to teaching and research responsibilities, he is the Director of the Chihuahuan Desert Rangeland Research Center (a 24700 ha research ranch). 

Prof Daniel Beckmans
Daniel Berckmans obtained a Master Degree and a Ph. D. in Bio-Science Engineering at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. He is full professor, leads the Division M3-Biores (Measure, Model and Manage Bioresponses), Department of Biosystems, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

Mr Jeffrey Bewley
Jeffrey Bewley is from Rineyville, Kentucky where he grew up working on his grandfather’s (Hilary Skees) dairy farm. He received a B.S. in Animal Sciences from the University of Kentucky in 1998. 

Mr Mark Branson
Owner manager of ‘Branson Farms” a 1200ha mixed farm at Stockport, 80km North of Adelaide. The farm grows Wheat, Barley, Canola, Field Peas, Faba Beans, Lentils, and breed fine wool merino sheep that run on cereal and legume pastures. He went to Roseworthy Ag. College where he graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Agriculture.

Dr Karel Charvat
Karel Charvat graduated in theoretical cybernetics. He is a member of ISPA, RDA, Club of Ossiach, CAGI, and CSITA. He was in period 2005 – 2007 President of European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture Food and Environment (EFITA). He is currently representative of HSRS in OGC Agriculture DWG. He has long time expereince in ICT for Agriculture and Precision Farming.

Dr Daan Goense
Daan Goense studied Agricultural Engineering at what is now Wageningen University. After a five year research project in Suriname on the design of a mechanized farming system for dry annual crops in the humid tropics he became Assistant and later Associate Professor at the department of Agricultural Engineering of Wageningen University in the field of farm machinery management.

Prof Naoshi Kondo
Naoshi Kondo is currently a professor, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University and is working on automation and sensing systems in agriculture, livestock and aquaculture aiming precision farming.He graduated from undergraduate and graduate schools (Department of Agricultural Engineering), Kyoto University in 1982 and 1984 respectively, and was engaged at Okayama University in 1985 as an assistant professor for 15 years.

Dr Nicolas Tremblay
Nicolas Tremblay, Ph.D., agronomist, is senior research scientist for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC; the Federal Department of Agriculture in Canada). He graduated from Laval University in 1982 and joined AAFC in 1985. He studied the management of vegetable transplants and crop fertilization in both muck (carrot, lettuce) and mineral soils (tomato, broccoli, vegetables for processing).

Prof Mark Rutter
Mark Rutter is Professor of Applied Animal Behaviour at Harper Adams University, Newport, Shropshire, UK. After graduating in Agricultural Science at the University of Leeds, he gained an MSc in Biological Computation from the University of York before being awarded a PhD in animal behaviour from the University of Edinburgh.

Dr Manjeet Singh Makkar
Manjeet Singh joined Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in the year 1996 in the College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology. He had completed his B E (Agri Engg) from College of Technology and Agricultural Engineering, Udaipur, M Tech and PhD In the field of Farm Power and Machinery from PAU, Ludhiana. He has joined as Head of the Department on December 24, 2016.

Miriana Stephens
Miriana was born in Motueka and raised by her grandparents. Her qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts (NZ History) and a Law Degree. She currently resides in Motueka and has four children. She was recently awarded the 2016 Aotearoa NZ Māori Woman Business Leader award in recognition of outstanding success and excellence in business.

⁠Prof Maohua Wang
Maohua Wang is now as Professor, College of Information & Electrical Engineering, China Agricultural University (CAU), Chairman of Academic Committee of Key Laboratory of Modern Precision Agriculture System Integration Research under Ministry of Education and Key labolatories Group on Agricultural Information Technology under Ministry of Agricultiure , P.C. China.

Prof Raj Khosla
Raj Khosla is Robert E. Gardner Professor of Precision Agriculture at Colorado State University (CSU). In addition, he holds the title of CSU distinguished Monfort Professor. In 2015,Dr. Khosla was recognized as the “Precision Ag Educator of the Year 2015”, a national honor bestowed by the agricultural industry.

Dr Sjaak Wolfert
Sjaak Wolfert studied Plant Science in Wageningen and finished his PhD ‘Sustainable agriculture: how to make it work?’ in 2002. Currently, he is working as Senior Scientist at Wageningen University; Research in the field of Information Management; ICT in Agri-Food.

Brad Wooldridge
Brad and Tracy Wooldridge are mixed farmers at Arthur River (450mm av. growing season rainfall ) and 250km away at Kalgan (South coast 800mm ) in Western Australia, running a 2600 head composite sheep flock and cropping  barley, lupins, canola and oats.