LandWISE projects seek to maximise sustainable profitability of field cropping through researching and promoting best practices. Maximum profit in the short term, can lead to lower profits in the longer term if resources are degraded.
A one year MAF Sustainable Farming Fund project supported by the Horticulture NZ Vegetable Research and Innovation Board. The project is developing quick methods to determine the cost of crop loss. We’ve noted total loss areas caused by surface ponding from irrigation or poor drainage. How much is it costing? Is it worth putting some effort into mitigation?
A one year MAF Sustainable farming fund project, supported by Mission Estate, Villa Maria and Kokako Farms. Local viticulturists and wineries have shown clear benefit of vineyard zoning for differential harvesting for high quality wine juice. This project is looking at soil EM and crop vigour mapping to identify zones within vineyard blocks, and at the practical issues trying to manage them differently to optimise juice quality and reduce labour costs.
The LandWISE Advanced Cropping Systems project has been completed with publication of the book, “A Guide to Smart Farming”.
Spread from Pukekohe to Canterbury, the Advanced Cropping Systems project followed and supported farmers advancing with technology on their farms. They are making savings on time, machine costs, fuel and other inputs, each is an example of example of technology in and costs out. Some have also experienced early improvements in yields and soil qualities.
Cases ranged from advanced weed management, (RTK-GPS guided mechanical weeding and GPS controlled spraying), GPS contouring to controlled traffic in arable and vegetable crops. Other cases focused on data management, zonal management and implementing GPS into a farming system.
The common themes were increasing profitability and improved soil and farm resilience in the face of climate change.
Protocols for using guidance systems have been developed to help avoid costly and frustrating errors. Other protocols are being written as knowledge is developed in different aspects of Precision Agriculture.
A simple energy calculator was developed to compare different cultivation strategies. It includes estimates of carbon generation and fuel costs.
We have undertaken several projects designed to test and promote sustainable crop production. From 2003 – 2007 we ran Controlling the Strip in which we trialed innovative field cropping practices. This project built on earlier work done on strip tillage and minimum tillage as well as precision agriculture, irrigation efficiency and enhancement and herbicide resistance.
Controlling the Strip involved more than 20 trials run over 4 years in different parts of the North Island where various production methods were assessed. As part of this project we investigated Banded Fertiliser application and Controlled Traffic for maize and squash
Through our projects, we work with industry organisations and farmers to co-ordinate on-farm trials. Their help and assistance is invaluable.
The MAF Sustainable Farming Fund funded many of our projects with support from our Gold Sponsors.