‘Conversations with Farmers’ publication launched at SAGIT Forum

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The Annual South Australian Grains Industry Trust (SAGIT) Forum was held on 23rd September. The event marked the official launch of the ‘Conversations with Farmers’ booklet, produced by SPAA and Ag Communicators, with funding from SAGIT. Despite the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has presented this year (delaying the event from July to September), it was exciting that the event could still be held face to face at the Wayville Showgrounds just like previous years.

Ten years ago, SPAA produced a publication where ten South Australian producers were featured, profiling them as pioneers in the grains industry and early adopters of precision agriculture (PA) technology. SPAA was delighted to have three of the ten farmers featured in the original SPAA produced document and the new document at the SAGIT Forum for the launch.

Mr Mark Branson, of Branson farms in Stockport SA, is one of the farmers who was featured in an original SPAA publication 10 year ago. Mark, who is also a SPAA committee member, formally launched the publication on the day. He says, ‘It’s great to be recognised as an industry leader with my PA journey, and was a pleasure to be able to officially launch the publication ten years on, alongside two other featured farmers – Brendon Johns from Wandearah and Allan Buckley from Waikerie.’  Mark reported back to the committee and was thrilled with the questions and feedback from the floor after he presented the final publication, he said ‘the response was overwhelmingly positive’.

Dr Nicole Dimos, SPAA Executive Officer, said “Conversations with Farmers” was an idea based on feedback that growers like to learn what other growers are doing”. “Popularity demonstrated a need to learn about PA tools and technologies through shared experiences. SPAA revisited The production of case studies is envisaged to lead to new knowledge, provide on-going producer support and highlights the importance of PA tools as part of their business whilst creating a network for farmers to work together and share knowledge.

“We hope this booklet and case studies bring confidence to grain producers and everyone enjoys revisiting these farmers who have helped shaped SPAA. It’s undoubtedly a valuable resource to your farm library and demonstrates that SPAA is an important conduit for the grains industry to learn about farm technology and innovations and to get other producers thinking about the possibilities available to them” said Nicole.

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’.

Conversations with Farmers – Peter Kuhlmann

Efficiency gains the aim on PA adoption
Eyre Peninsula farmer Peter Kuhlmann was quick to recognise the improvements in efficiency precision agriculture tools gave him when he first adopted guidance and autosteer almost two decades ago.

This case study was supported by SPAA Society of Precision Agriculture Australia Inc through funding from
the South Australian Grain Industry Trust Fund as part of project SPAA118 – Conversations with Farmers:
Agricultural Practice Change with the “PA-Early Adopters”.