SAGIT Funding brings South Australian Precision Ag leaders to Tassie Conference

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SPAA was fortunate to gain SAGIT funding, which allowed us to bring Joe Cook, from Keith in South Australia to the stage at our 2019 Symposium in Launceston.

Joe’s chosen topic is ‘soil moisture monitoring and prescription irrigation for growing Lucerne in sandy soils’. Joe and his family run a business with irrigated and dryland Lucerne as the main pillar, including 300ha of seed production, which is around 50 per cent of the business. They also grow about 400ha of wheat, barley, lentils, canola and oaten hay and run 1450 Merino ewes joined to Poll Dorset rams to produce crossbred lambs.

The farm sits in a 450mm rainfall zone with soil that is generally sandy over a limestone and clay base.

Joe manages a multi-faceted business and therefore chooses to use a consulting company to help him manage his water and soil moisture ag tech and data. Joe will be giving us a firsthand look at why PA works for him, and why he chooses to outsource some of the work.

We thank the South Australian Grains Industry Trust for making it possible to allow Joe to speak about his experience in Tasmania.

Supporting Next Generation Ag – Adelaide Uni Growing the Future event

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SPAA was thrilled to once again be part of the Growing the Future #GTF event organised by the Adelaide University Ag Students Association on the 15th August with 240 attendees. Robin Schaefer, SPAA committee member, and Bill Burgess attended the event held in the Ian McLaughlin Room, Adelaide Oval and manned our trade exhibit.

The event has fast become a popular ‘must attend’ for industry reps to mix with graduates and enthusiastic young people looking to launch a career in agriculture. The format began with two workshops, this year with topics covering ‘identifying five issues in agriculture and overcoming them’ and ‘starting your own business in agriculture – what skills are needed?’.

Over the evening meal, two panels with industry representatives covered two different questions – ‘do we need to improve the education about how food and fibre are produced, and how can we achieve this?’, and ‘what does the use of new technologies mean for the entire industry and how competitive Australian agriculture is moving forward in to the future?’. Robin Schaefer was part of the second panel and discussed some of the trends seen through SPAA, in particular rapidly moving progression in horticulture technology and livestock technology.

SPAA had the job of ‘wrapping up’ the evening, and Bill encouraged the graduate to challenge their thinking about agriculture and what opportunities may be presented to them in the next ten years, and of course to consider Precision Agriculture as an exciting field to work in.

Meet our new Technical Programs Manager

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Today we welcome Mr Bill Burgess to our team, commencing in the role of Technical Programs Manager.

Born and bred South Australian, Bill and his family have settled down in the Barossa Valley.

Bill has a broad agricultural background of Cropping and Livestock, but most recently 5 years with a marketing and sales roles with Croplands Equipment.

Bill says “I’m really looking forward to meeting new people and extending my network whilst facilitating the real world uptake on Precision Ag technical and management systems. I’m keen to try and bring value to as many different Ag sectors as possible and am proud to be working with Australian farmers.”

In his spare time, Bill volunteers as a councillor for the National Grains and Fodder Committee based at the Adelaide Show and in the warmer months can often be found on the River water skiing with friends and family.

To get in touch with Bill, contact him via email on bill@spaa.com.au or phone 0400 279 969.

New face on the SPAA committee

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The results of the 2018 SPAA AGM held on Monday 10th September welcome some new faces to the committee. We are thrilled to announce Rohan Rainbow who was our organisations 1st Executive Officer elected to serve a role on the management committee. “A reason for wanting to come back and support SPAA has been to assist the committee through the many challenges that government will present to industry with around issues such as data rights and automation regulation and social licence. I thought i could also bring my experience in development of national strategy to assist the committee with planning. I really feel it is time for me to give something back to growers” said Rohan. Also returning to serve another term is Robin Schaefer, Denis Pozzebon, Mark Branson, and treasurer Chad Glover

Sadly, it was time for long-term member Sam Trengove to hang up his boots after an incredible nine years. Sam was instrumental in a number of our research programs and grower groups activities, and although no longer on the committee, will no doubt will stay well connected with SPAA.

Bramley recognised with a SPAA life membership

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Dr Robert Bramley, a researcher with CSIRO from Adelaide, SA has been announced as the recipient of the SPAA Life membership award.

Dr Bramley is highly respected in Australia and overseas for the research he has, and continues to undertake within the field of Precision Agriculture. His research work spans over 20 years and the contribution he has made to winegrape and sugarcane production is best described as ‘pioneering’. He has published many articles in peer-reviewed journals and in popular industry magazines, including SPAA’s own quarterly magazine Precision Ag News. Rob has presented at numerous SPAA symposia and expos, as well as SPAA-initiated field days.

Nicole Dimos, SPAA Executive Officer said “He has willingly shared his views and time, and with the respect he holds amongst his peers and SPAA members, has helped to promote SPAA as a credible, professional organisation”.

Dr Bramley was a founding SPAA committee member in 2002 and continued as a committee member until 2009. Within that time he was actively engaged at meetings and in all lines on communication.

Dr Bramley continues to be an active member of the SPAA Editorial committee.. His knowledge and critique of articles has ensured that published information is of a high standard and accurate in detail.

Dr Bramley was recognised at the 21st PA Symposium held this week in Adelaide. Former SPAA president Mr Mark Branson, who worked alongside Dr Bramley on the SPAA committee, presented the award. Mr Branson said, “Rob is a deserving recipient for the award, and was overwhelmingly nominated by fellow precision agriculture members and supporters”. The award recognises individuals who have demonstrated a remarkable and ongoing commitment to SPAA, which has enhanced its standing within its membership and the wider community, and a commitment that does not seek personal reward.

Dr Bramley receives a life membership to SPAA and a plaque to commemorate his achievements.

Attending the 21st PA Symposium, Dr Bramley said “I am humbled and honoured to have been nominated and to receive such a significant award. To me, this award celebrates the great partnerships that SPAA has formed with its members and stakeholders. What I’m most pleased about is the way my research team has used learnings about PA in one agricultural sector to inspire advances in another, which is exactly what SPAA also promotes.”

It’s membership renewal time

JOIN and/or RENEW BEFORE 11th JULY and be in with a chance to WIN a great PRIZE from Topcon Agriculture  

It’s time to renew your annual subscription with SPAA and we’ve made it even easier by completing it all online from the SPAA website https://spaa.com.au/membership/  usingcredit card or Paypal facilities. Our price remains unchanged and you would have noticed more communications coming from our office via a now monthly e-newsletter and a 4th edition of Precision Ag News.

With our new website all current SPAA members will be required to re-sign up as a NEW member. Whilst this may be bothersome, it will allow the system to have the most up-to-date details and you will be able to create your own password to access the members only section that contain all our publications.

If you prefer the old fashion way of renewing or signing up and pay using other methods, that option is still available. Download the paperwork here and forward it to Kylie on info@spaa.com.au

The SPAA committee thanks you for your support of the organisation, and we look forward to you re-newing or signing up and catching up with you at future events.

Will you be on our program at #PASymposium18?

Call for abstracts are now open for #PASympoisum18.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to present your research or on-farm story.

With a large crowd expected as we return to Adelaide get in quick.

Don’t forget if you have a suggestion for a speaker let me know and we can endeavor to get them onto our program.

Abstracts close July 18th, please follow the guidelines and we look forward to showcasing your PA activities.

Click here to download the guidelines and template.

Meet our new project officer

SPAA (the) Society of Precision Agriculture Australia is pleased to announce its newest appointment with Ms Kristin Murdock as the association’s new PA project officer.

SPAA Executive officer Dr Nicole Dimos said, “This exciting position established by SPAA is the result of having to meet the demands of the industry. We are seeing tremendous growth in PA nationally, and this opportunity requires SPAA to revisit its communication and extension strategy; from increasing our online presence, to hosting more events across Australia as more and more industries are realising the benefits of PA”.

Ms Murdock hails from Warooka, SA, and has worked in agriculture and rural communications for much of her career, specifically project management in the grains sector and natural resource management, where she gained valuable skills in identifying industry issues, working with industry to deliver relevant information, as well as reporting and presenting outcomes to wider audiences.  She comes to the organisation with experience and enthusiasm ready to step up from a regional level role to take on this new challenge with a focussed area of agriculture.

SPAA President Jessica Koch said “Her skills as a professional writer having worked with regional newspapers, as a published author and a classroom teacher will be a great benefit to this role. This diverse role requires a passionate person to communicate with exceptional skills both verbally and print in an engaging manner. Kristin’s experience meets this prerequisite for SPAA”.

Ms Murdock said “I’m excited to take on the role. Promoting PA to a wider audience will be a challenge, but an important one to showcase that SPAA is a national group with the interests of all agricultural industries and regions. I’m looking forward to meeting the many farmers, researchers, industry groups and companies actively aiming to progress farming operations through precision agriculture and to explore the opportunities with many agricultural sector across Australia. With their input, I aim to ensure SPAA continues to provide relevant, easily accessible and up – to – date information.”

In addition to enhancing the SPAA brand on its new website and across digital media and preparing grower profiles, Ms Murdock will be busy on the road organising events across Australia advocating the latest information available in precision agriculture (PA) and delivering relevant and timely information to landholders and industry across the range of agricultural commodities.

“Kristin is extremely passionate in accepting the roles and is looking forward to working on promoting the benefits of precision agriculture (PA) and the SPAA brand and will be of a great asset to the organisation” said Nicole. This hands-on role will encompass relationship building and servicing, growing the membership base, marketing co-ordination to increase the national branding of SPAA.

Kristin can be contacted via email on kristin@spaa.com.au and commences her role with SPAA on 16th May and will be working Wednesday to Friday.

Factsheet on UAVs

The agricultural sector sees SPAA as a trusted source of PA information, and the production of factsheets led to new knowledge, on-going support and highlights the importance of these tools as part of their business and continues to create a network for farmers and the private sector to work together and share knowledge.With thanks to SAGIT, the project produced a total of six factsheets and one poster across a range of topics, of innovations where farmers felt the information was too over-whelming or possibly not easy to attain. The factsheets were a snapshot of tools currently on the market of which adoption is in part low or interest is high.

The key features of the factsheets were the tried and tested experiences, where SPAA profiled successful adopters of the “said” innovations. These case studies included some tips and advise, how they overcame challenges and common issues.

Our final factsheet on UAVs in agriculture in now available. Download your copy here

New faces join the SPAA committee

We are thrilled to announce some new faces joining the SPAA committee who were elected at our recent AGM that was held in Crystal Brook in March.

Ben Pratt is a farmer from Blyth graduated last year with a first class honours degree at the Uni of Adelaide with a focus on PA mapping. He was keen to join SPAA in order to help others realise the power of data when used correctly and that it doesn’t have to be complicated or technical.

Jon Dyer was a 2015 Nuffield Scholar and grain producer from Kaniva in Victoria’s West Wimmera.

He too joined the SPAA committee because during his Nuffield studies he realised that precision technology and data driven decision making was arriving in agriculture and is here to stay. SPAA is a way for him to connect with and learn from other farmers that are implementing these technologies. Hopefully he will likewise be able to contribute my own experiences and things I’ve learnt.

Chad Glover was re-elected to serve the position of Treasurer.

Congratulations on these appointments and look forward to the next two years with you on our committee helping to drive PA adoption.