REQUEST FOR SERVICES – PUBLICATIONS CONTRACTOR

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As some of you may be aware, our wonderful existing Publications Contractor will be shortly leaving us to further pursue her PhD. Accordingly, an exciting opportunity has become available for a contractor who is an experienced PA Communicator to help support us with the development of our quarterly magazine Precision Ag News.

Please find following link to our website which provides an overview of the requirements and an expression of interest form to complete Publications Contractor_Request for Services Expression of Interest Form_SPAA

For more information and to submit your application, connect with Nicole Dimos via email nicole@spaa.com.au or 0437422000

Job Opportunity – Marketing and Publicity Coordinator

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SPAA is very excited to be adding a PT Marketing and Publicity Coordinator to the team.

Are you an experienced communicator and marketer who is passionate about Technology adoption in Agriculture?

  • National business, reporting to the Executive Officer
  • Opportunity to work with experts in Precision Agriculture
  • PT Position 20 hrs/week can be based anywhere in Australia (2 year contract)

Click here for more information and how to apply via our SEEK advert.  2005_Marketing and Publicity Coordinator_Candidate Brief

Planning underway for free, nationwide ‘Hands on Precision Agriculture Training’ program

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TAKE THE SURVEY to help shape the program.

The Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC) has provided funding for us and four leading grower groups to develop and deliver free precision agriculture (PA) training to growers across Australia.

Your feedback will be important to develop the workshop programs Click here to complete the survey

SPAA Executive Office Dr Nicole Dimos says that the ‘Hands-on PA Training’ project will help growers make practical use of PA equipment and data to improve the speed and accuracy of decision making, reduce production costs and increase farm profitability under a range of Australian environmental conditions.

“This project comes at a critical time for the grains industry. At a time when they’re being squeezed by rising costs, uncertain commodity prices and an increasingly variable climate, the ability to farm more efficiently, minimise waste, and improve margins through traceability and marketability, have never been more important.”

In total, fifty-four ‘Hands on PA Training’ events will be held in major grains growing centres during 2020 and 2021. The events will be delivered by leading PA specialists and consultants and will be coordinated by a national coalition of grower groups including:

  • Birchip Cropping Group in Victoria
  • FarmLink in Southern Queensland and New South Wales
  • Rural Directions in South Australia and Tasmania
  • Members of the Grower Group Alliance in Western Australia.

As the first step in developing the training package, Dr Dimos says that the project team has developed an online survey to help better understand grower needs, customise the training package and identify the most appropriate workshop locations.

“We’re asking growers to register their interest by completing the survey and telling us more about how they’re using PA now and how they hope to use it in the future. The results of the survey will be used to plan the structure and content of the training events and help us identify the best locations to hold them”, Dr Dimos says.

Growers who complete the survey will also go into the draw for one of three free SPAA memberships valued at $150.

Complete the survey here

SPAA Precision Ag EXPO POSTPONED

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#SPAAEXPO20 Event Update.
The SPAA committee has made the decision to POSTPONE our #PA event scheduled for next Thursday (26th Mar) in Loxton due to the COVID-19 situation.
Whilst this is extremely disappointing we consider this to be socially responsible and respectful of current policies and communities reaction to COVID-19 virus.
People who have purchased tickets to attend will be refunded and we will be in contact soon.
Stay tuned for new event details in Loxton and many other initiatives with the SPAA PA community once we get the all clear.

#Learn Share Connect Be Inspired

SPAA event to wind up Precision Veg Project

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SPAA, in collaboration with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries will host a ‘Getting Started with Precision Veg’ event in Gatton, South East QLD on February the 5th. Julie O’Halloran, newly elected SPAA committee member and Senior Horticulturalist involved in the project says ‘we are anticipating a positive response to the event, there are many growers looking for information on how to get started with PA technology in vegetable production as this is still a relatively new space’.

The Hort Innovation funded Precision Vegetable project is currently winding up after three years. Led by QLD DAF, the project has involved a variety of project partners, with a key purpose to demonstrate the ‘how’ in Precision Veg adoption through a variety of grower case studies, a literature review and a variety of field tours. Julie says ‘precision technology adoption in the veg industry is still relatively new, this project has been designed to showcase some of the successful case studies out there to hopefully accelerate adoption’.

The event, to be held at the Gatton Research Centre, will have an outdoor demonstration time slot from 2pm, followed by a number of technical presentations, then winding up with a BBQ tea. Frank D’Emden, SPAA president says ‘like all SPAA events, we encourage networking between interested growers and the PA professionals present both from a commercial and advisory perspective. This event essentially ties together key learnings from the Precision Veg project and we hope growers leave feeling more confident in how they may be able to use PA technology in their vegetable enterprises’.

This event is FREE to attend

Preliminary Flyer attached

SPAA Staff and Committee involved in Precision Ag Training Material Development

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Nicole Dimos (SPAA EO) and Matt Nottley (SPAA committee member) have been selected as ‘Subject Matter Experts’ (SME’s) in an initiative to develop new subject matter for the redesign of the ‘Diploma of Applied Agronomy course’ for registered training organisations. The redesign of the training materials includes subjects on Precision Agriculture run by ‘Skills Impact’. Skills Impact is a not-for-profit organisation that works across Australia to benchmark learning and skills standards for industry.

Nicole Dimos says ‘Skills Impact works with experienced industry personnel to define the skills standards for their industry, revising and drafting national qualifications, skill sets and units of competency. This work is completed as part of national training package projects. Matt and I there as representatives of the precision ag industry to identify the job role or functions and what skills and knowledge is required to do a job in this career path.’

Currently there is no nationally approved qualification in agronomy. The development of a national Diploma of Applied Agronomy opens pathways towards the business and management of agricultural enterprises, as well as in the applied fields of soil management and advanced cop production. Nicole Dimos says ‘We have a particular interest in the Digital Agronomy skill set – that aims to provide the skills and knowledge required to provide digital agronomic advice and expertise on systems types, purchase and use’

The role of SME Working Group members, Nicole and Matt is to provide information and advice to Skills Impact on the required skills and knowledge, emerging industry practices and future training needs in today’s workplaces. Nicole says ‘we are aiming to ensure that much needed practical and up to date subject matter is being included in courses on precision ag; we are continually being told through SPAA that we need to have impact of tertiary training material, so this is a great opportunity to have our say’.

Stakeholder Survey will help shape SPAA’s strategic future – we want to hear from you!

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SPAA is planning a strategic review in March 2020. The review will be led by Rohan Rainbow and will aim to deduce SPAA’s impact on the uptake of precision agriculture (PA) in Australia to date, and using this information combined with board input and stake holder feedback to shape the organisations direction for the future.

SPAA Frank D’Emden says ‘SPAA represents a sector of the agriculture industry (PA), that is developing and evolving at a rapid rate. It is imperative that our organisation keeps our feet on the ground whilst having our eyes on the horizon to look for new opportunities; that is why every three years our board meets to shape our direction for the future.’

SPAA now represents a number of different industries that has evolved from grains, viticulture and livestock, to sugar, horticulture and to some extent cotton. Frank says ‘it is important that we are meeting the needs of these different organisations to support the adoption of Precision Ag through our extension material and events, through this survey we plan to find out exactly what those needs are’.

If you haven’t already filled the survey out, it is available at the following link, we’d love to have your input! Anyone who participates in the survey and leaves their contact details will go in the draw to win a $200 Coles Myer gift card

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SPAASTAKEHOLDERSURVEY2019

 

 

Precision Viticulture Workshop to focus on savings and efficiencies

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SPAA in collaboration with Riverland Wine funded by the Murray Darling Basin NRM will host a Precision Viticulture workshop with the key focus – ‘PA tools for efficiencies and savings’. SPAA Executive Officer Nicole Dimos said the workshop is a opportunity for farmers to learn about technologies that will help them make efficiency gains and savings.’

The workshop will run from 9.30-12.30 and will be held at the PIRSA Research Centre in Loxton. Lance Dickeson, John Deere will give a product update covering crop care, yield documentation and ‘preparing the site’ (precision land forming etc). Don Thorp from TracMap will speak about ‘useful field data’ on operations such as spraying, harvest and weed control. Mark Bastian from Precision Agriculture is also among the line up.

Details to RSVP are on the workshop flyer, morning tea is provided and this workshop is FREE to attend.

This project is supported by the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resource Management Board through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the NRM Levies.

SPAA welcomes new President and Vice President from Western Australia

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SPAA held its annual AGM in Tasmania at the Launceston Symposium which saw a changing of the guard in the executive committee and a new committee member. Mark Branson formally thanked Jessica Koch, outgoing president, who has had an extremely busy and extended 2.5-year term. Jessica has remained on the committee which remains strong with a total of 16 committee members based all over the country in various sectors and roles.

Frank D’Emden, incoming president addressed the SPAA members upon his successful nomination ‘I am very excited about taking on this role, SPAA is a brilliant organisation. Our committee has great depth of varied knowledge and I look forward to seeing us continue to make an impact on the adoption of Precision Agriculture nationally as we support new industries and developments.’ Frank is based in Perth and has a wealth of experience working in as a Precision Ag Consultant for several years.

Philip Honey, Director at Environmental and Cropping Technologies, based in Albany WA has stepped up from a committee role to Vice President. Jessica Koch said ‘both Frank and Phil have been active contributors to SPAA in recent years, they bring with them a variety of skills and knowledge – most importantly they’re both very approachable and level-headed guys. We look forward to having some strong West Australian representation!’

Ian Layden has stepped down from the committee and we are grateful his representation of the horticulture sector. Julie O’Halloran has essentially stepped up to continue this role on the committee’; she is a Development Horticulturalist at the QLD Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry; we extend to her a warm welcome and look forward to her representation in precision veg.

 

Grain Producers Australia to create Code of Practice for Autonomous Vehicles in Grains

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SPAA committee member Rohan Rainbow presented at this years SPAA Symposium as a Grain Producers Australia (GPA) representative about the next steps to commercialise autonomous machines in Australia. Sophisticated agricultural technologies have revolutionized the ag industry, and now there is a need for social adjustment; consideration needs to be given to the impact on regional communities, skills requirements and training needs before the introduction of driverless vehicles.

So what’s the process?

GPA has plans to develop a Code of Practice which will be co-funded by GPA with manufacturer investment and input from producer and industry organizations. The Code of Practice is expected to be delivered by March 1st 2020 for presentation to government and wider industry stakeholders.

Rohan Rainbow, GPA said ‘a recent study of the potential benefits of Digital Agriculture including agricultural machine automation, highlighted potential returns of $878 million for the grains industry from reduced labor costs. An additional $91 million return would come from reduced chemical use through improved targeted application using sensing and automation. However, for these benefits to be realised, commercial pathways to adoption and industry confidence in the use of autonomy technologies is required.’ Australian Agriculture needs to build confidence and trust, before machinery manufacturers can commercialise these technologies.

GPA believes agriculture must take a similar approach to the mining industry in developing the world first Code of Practice for agriculture field machine autonomy. Rohan Rainbow says ‘with widespread agricultural machine autonomy imminent in Australia, it is essential that a proactive approach is led by producers to ensure social and regulatory confidence in successful, risk managed adoption is maintained’.

The prospectus for the Code of Practice has been prepared by GPA to encourage stakeholder collaboration and investment. There is an open invitation for other field-based plant industries to participate with the aim that this also meets their needs. GPA proposes that other field-based plant industries, agricultural chemical and machine manufacturers invest into and participate in this process. GPA invites comment, feedback and written commitment to participate in the establishment of an Industry Code of Practice for Agricultural Field Machine Autonomy by 30 September 2019.