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Understanding the barriers to the implementation of precision agriculture in the central region

Markley, J. and Hughes, J. (2014) Understanding the barriers to the implementation of precision agriculture in the central region. International Sugar Journal, 116 (1384). pp. 278-285. ISSN 0020-8841

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Article Link(s): http://www.assct.com.au/media/pdfs/Ag%205%20Markle...

Abstract

There is an increasing requirement for more astute land resource management through efficiencies in agricultural inputs in a sugar cane production system. A precision agriculture (PA) approach can provide a pathway for a sustainable sugarcane production system. One of the impediments to the adoption of PA practices is access to paddock-scale mapping layers displaying variability in soil properties, crop growth and surface drainage. Variable rate application (VRA) of nutrients is an important component of PA. However, agronomic expertise within PA systems has fallen well behind significant advances in PA technologies. Generally, advisers in the sugar industry have a poor comprehension of the complex interaction of variables that contribute to within-paddock variations in crop growth. This is regarded as a significant impediment to the progression of PA in sugarcane and is one of the reasons for the poor adoption of VRA of nutrients in a PA approach to improved sugar cane production. This project therefore has established a number of key objectives which will contribute to the adoption of PA and the staged progression of VRA supported by relevant and practical agronomic expertise. These objectives include provision of base soils attribute mapping that can be determined using Veris 3100 Electrical Conductivity (EC) and digital elevation datasets using GPS mapping technology for a large sector of the central cane growing region using analysis of archived satellite imagery to determine the location and stability of yield patterns over time and in varying seasonal conditions on selected project study sites. They also include the stablishment of experiments to determine appropriate VRA nitrogen rates on various soil types subjected to extended anaerobic conditions, and the establishment of trials to determine nitrogen rates applicable to a declining yield potential associated with the aging of ratoons in the crop cycle. Preliminary analysis of archived yield estimation data indicates that yield patterns remain relatively stable overtime. Results also indicate the where there is considerable variability in EC values there is also significant variation in yield.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Additional Information:Mackay Sugar; Federal Government's Caring for Our Country Reef Rescue program The authors would like to thank all the growers collaborating in the project for their commitment in recording management activities and their support in the validation of yield mapping zones. Access to Mackay Sugar Ltd satellite yield estimation data was fundamental in determining the stability of yield zones over time; the authors thank Mackay Sugar for supporting the project.This project could not have proceeded without the support of the Federal Government's Caring for Our Country Reef Rescue program administered locally by Reef Catchments (Mackay Isaac Whitsunday). Int sugar journal ltd Kent era
Keywords:precision agriculture variable rate application soil properties yield validation soil mapping
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural economics
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Soils. Soil science
Plant culture > Field crops > Sugar plants
Deposited On:29 Jun 2015 04:03
Last Modified:27 Jul 2015 05:35

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