LandWISE News March 2012

LandWISE 2012 – 10th Annual Conference May 2012

Put the 22, 23 and 24 May 2012 in your diary for the 10th Annual LandWISE Conference.

The title is Site Specific Management: growing within limits. We are looking at the changing requirements for farming, in particular the increasing need to demonstrate that farming has minimal environmental impact. Look for a focus on soil water management, irrigation, monitoring and drainage.

For the first time we also have a day focused on Smart Viticulture. This builds on current LandWISE work with local viticulturists investigating the benefits, costs and logistics of applying zonal management using precsion viticulture techniques.

  • People with viticulture interests will find Day 1 extremely useful. They will also see there are great presentations on the other days.
  • LandWISE traditionalists be assured; Days 2 and 3 follow the usual pattern. But do have a look at the Day 1 programme – you’ll find a lot there that can give you completely new ideas.

The draft programme and more details are available here This page will be updated as conference draws nearer, and you’ll receive direct messages too.

Conference registration is available on-line. As usual, discounted rates for members.

Conference Platinum Sponsor

We are very pleased to announce Eastern Institute of Technology as a new Platinum Sponsor for Conference 2012. There are strong cross-overs between an institute such as this and LandWISE with our focus on upskilling for the primary industry sectors.

EIT has a very strong viticulture and wine programme, and is also active in agriculture and horticulture in Hawke’s Bay and the East Coast/Tairawhiti.

Key Speakers

We are also delighted that Rob Bramley from CSIRO in Adelaide will be one of our key presenters. Rob is well known for his precision viticulture work, but is also very experienced in broadacre crops.

Tom Botterill from the Geospatial Research Centre at the University of Canterbury will talk about machine vision and robot pruning. More announcements coming soon . . .


Driverless Tractor

LandWISE Member Matt Flowerday from GPS-It sent a link to this site for a new driverless tractor.

A few of you have expressed interest in autonomous tractors – so with a favourable exchange rate and a $US 150,000 price tag, here’s your chance.

It’s interesting for a few reasons:

  • The 225 kW tractor can be controlled in real-time from a base station with a remote control device that can be up to 40 km away. The master base station can handle up to 16 operating tractors at one time.
  • Hew can couple units together for more power, like train locomotives
  • It uses twin laser unit called LIPS (Laser Imaging Position System) rather than GPS (we need to learn more about LIPS)
  • Power is diesel electric with a 15 to 25% better fuel economy than conventional systems

Australian Conferences

Dan attended the SPAA Precision Agriculture Australia Expo in Port Lincoln, South Australia and the Conference in Maroochydor, Queensland in February.
Speakers discussed nutrient tests we don’t use, plants we seldom grow, pests, diseases and weeds that remain thankfully foreign, and yields most New Zealand farmers would consider disastrous. They talked of soil electromagnetic sensors, pH sensors, biomass sensors, protein sensors, animal trackers and robots. Of precision farming in Canada, Scotland, England, New Zealand, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

The messages were strikingly familiar. In essence; know and look after your soil, monitor your crop, and apply inputs where they give the best returns.
At both events, the farm was the focus; the technologies merely tools to help manage better. Much, much better.

A couple of areas to watch:

  • UAV proliferation. There are more and more self-flying ‘toy’ planes and helicopters suited to crop inspection tasks. With increasingly light and quality cameras, and return to base GPS guidance they have great potential. There are a few issues yet with processing the data, and like all sensor things, ground trothing is still needed.
  • RFID Tags. The advances in electronic tagging have been very fast, and new applications are only now being realised. With new technologies, the range of some devices has become quite extraordinary, offering ability to track items or animals at increasing distances. Cheaply.

A Guide to Smart Farming

Our Guide to Smart Farming book has been the subject of tremendous acclaim from farmers, industry, researchers and teaching staff in New Zealand and overseas. Thanks for the feedback!

About 7,000 copies were printed, and we’ve only 300 left in stock, so that’s a lot that are out there and, from what we hear, being read.

Purchasing copies:

A Guide to Smart Farming was distributed free to people in the LandWISE Community. Extra copies are available through TradeMe at $29.90 plus post including GST. Search TradeMe guide smart farming and it will pop up.

See the Table of Contents here>

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