To advisers: don't be the missing link

"AS ADVISERS, we need to begin now to gain the information and management skills that will be absolutely essential for working closely with farmers to deliver the potential benefits of precision agriculture (PA)."

Michael Wells of Kerin Agencies, Crystal Brook (SA), predicted that, as new information management tools were developed, advisers would form the vital link between the farmer and research in PA. They would need to combine current and historical information with the new layers of spatial data, and bring together the various tools for an effective management response.

"In future agricultural management, we will all have to think spatially," said Mr Wells, who believes that, while farmers would be involved in collecting yield data and some aspects of the interpretation stage, it was likely that the majority of growers would wish to work primarily with the response strategies they needed to adopt.

The need to source, analyse, manipulate and store the various layers of information, like remotely sensed images, electromagnetic surveys, several seasons' yield maps and digital elevation models required in developing a crop management system based on land management units, was a task that would most likely be undertaken by the adviser.

The words they use

A glossary of precision agriculture acronyms
DEMdigital elevation model
ECelectrical conductivity
GPSglobal positioning system
GISglobal information system
PAprecision agriculture
SSCMsite-specific crop management
VRAvariable rate application
VRTvariable rate technology

Contact: Mr Michael Wells 08 8636 2336 email