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.

 

SPAA hosts successful Tasmanian Symposium

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The 22nd Symposium for Precision Agriculture, a collaboration between SPAA and the University of Sydney’s PA Laboratory was held at the Tramsheds Function Centre on the 9th and 10th of September. Executive Officer Nicole Dimos said, ‘we were thrilled with the attendance of 129 delegates, given this was the first time we have held the event in Tasmania it was really positive to see so many new delegates.’

The program began with the AGM, which saw Western Australian Frank D’Emden step into role of President, replacing farmer and consultant Jessica Koch from SA. Phillip Honey, consultant from Esperance filled the role of Vice President. Ian Layden, DAF stepped down from the committee, with Julie O’Halloran providing a strong replacement as she has a strong horticultural background.

Brett Whelan, from the PA Lab once again did a terrific job at collating a program covering many facets of precision agriculture. Michael Nichols, local grower from Sisters Creek presented on how he uses NDVI for prescription fertiliser inputs, and how his attention to detail resulted in him achieving Australia’s wheat growing record of 13t/ha off 16.6ha. SAGIT sponsored speaker Joe Cook, Keith SA spoke about his experience using moisture probes and EM38 soil layers to strategically manage irrigation in his Lucerne Seed enterprise.

There were some excellent scientific presentations from many of Australia’s university and research institutions. A strong theme in crop sensor and satellite imagery technology emerged, with excellent presentations from Dr Rob Bramley (CSIRO) about the Future Farm Project,  Yield forecasting of root crops with a multispectral satellite sensor in Australia by Angelica Suarez (UNE PARG), and the use of satellite imagery for mapping pasture biomass in real-time by Iffat Ara (TIA).

Once again, the event was backed by a record number of sponsors, many of whom had trade exhibits. Landmark Echelon this year sponsored the famous ‘PA Connections’ which dove tailed nicely into the conference dinner on Monday night. At the completion of the conference, 35 delegates headed off on a bus tour to Cressy, organised by AgLogic’s Rueben Wells, visiting two impressive mixed enterprises employing land levelling and drainage PA techniques.

SPAA Factsheet features in The Weekly Times February Crop Gear magazine

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Did you see the article in the February issue of The Weekly Times Crop Gear magazine about Weed Sensing Technology? Did you want to learn more about this, download our factsheet now filled with a list of benefits and case studies!

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New Factsheets launched by SPAA

SPAA supports innovation, and innovation also includes people. We are thrilled to launch our great new factsheets providing you with a snapshot and access to explain the capabilities of a range of PA tools and technologies that are applied across the grains industry. Here the first 2 of six are made available to you.

 

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#PASymposium16 Proceedings now available

Couldn’t make it to #PASympoisum16 in Toowoomba last month? Great news, the event proceedings are now freely available.

Download your copy now!

New team at SPAA to build on precision agriculture drive

We are thrilled to announce two new appointments with Ms Amanda Woods as the association’s new PA Development Officer and Ms Joanne Pech as its new Event Co-ordinator.   Read more

International trends in technology for agriculture

Attending the International Conference on Precision Agriculture (ICPA) is a great way to keep abreast of developments in PA and some of the people behind them. SPAA sent its editor of Precision Ag News Emma leonard along. Here is what she had to say…

This year for the first time the ICPA ran concurrently with InfoAg. While the ICPA provides a window to the latest research on PA, InfoAg has more practical, political and industry presentations and a comprehensive trade show.

More details from these events will be published in Precision Ag News but here are a few overarching impressions.

Research into new tools and applications seems to have plateaued. Sensor integration, data collection from satellites and UAVs, systems for sharing big data and PA education were some of the areas where progress is occurring.

At InfoAg I was surprised that the only on-the-go sensor on display was a machine carrying pH, EC and soil carbon sensors from Veris. No weed or nitrogen sensors.

There were many new companies and brands offering data integration and decision support services. While some of these were smaller companies several included major players such as IBM, Iteris, Bosch and Verizon a major provider of wireless solutions.

In her closing address at InfoAg Lisa Prassack encouraged us all to capitalise on these new entrants to the PA space by working with them to understand the problems to which we want solutions. Come and hear more from Lisa at the 19th Precision Agriculture Symposium where she is the international keynote speaker.

Registrations NOW OPEN for #PASymposium16

The annual PA Symposium is now underway, an opportunity for all PA enthusiasts to LEARN, SHARE, CONNECT and BE INSPIRED.

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We’re hiring!

Do you have a passion for Precision Agriculture and all the benefits it can deliver?
Are you a good relationship manager who loves to organise events and engage through social media?
Then this may be the opportunity that you have been looking for. Read more