In broadacre cropping enterprises, a precision agriculture approach allows each paddock to be divided up and managed in much smaller segments, or management zones. While the paddock is still usually used for the same purpose (e.g. the same crop is grown throughout the paddock), each management zone can be allocated variable rates of seed, water, fertiliser and other nutrients depending on factors such as soil chemistry or moisture, or crop biomass patterns.
New farm machinery is now often being shipped with GPS-linked yield measurement systems which automatically record the volume, mass, moisture and/or oil content of the grain being harvested. Processing and analysis of this data can provide a wealth of information you can use to improve your decision-making when it comes to planning for the next season, including fine-tuning application rates for nutrients and other inputs.
On-board GPS systems can also enable guided or even fully automatic steering or controlled traffic farming systems. This can dramatically reduce soil compaction, boost yields and potentially cut fuel consumption in half.
Satellite imagery also offers a wide range of possibilities for improving the management of broadacre crops. Many farmers are now taking advantage of near-infrared reflectance measured by specialised satellite or aerial sensors to assess crop performance and soil characteristics. This data can be useful for determining how to manage different parts of a paddock, what use would be best suited to each area of the property, and even plan for modifying fence lines to take advantage of natural variations in soil conditions.
Extremely precise satellite RADAR and stereoscopic sensors, LIDAR systems and corrected GPS technologies have now also made it possible to create detailed digital elevation maps extremely quickly, allowing for analysis of surface water flows, which can in turn allow better management decisions to be made with regard to the placement of dams, the prevention of nutrient runoff and erosion, and the protection and improvement of riparian zones.
If you want to reduce your inputs, improve your yields and bring your broadacre cropping enterprise into the digital age of precision agriculture, Eden PA can help. For most farms, the first step in adopting any PA technologies or systems will be the creation of a package of digitised maps of farm assets and infrastructure. Eden PA can produce accurate and comprehensive maps for farms of any size, with competitive rates available. From there you can start planning for more efficient management of your property through the introduction of cost-effective PA technologies.
Using research-based techniques and a scientific approach to diagnosing problems and finding solutions, Eden PA can build on your own knowledge and experience as a farmer or producer to find new ways to boost your profits and cut your input costs at the same time. Eden PA is also the perfect partner to agronomists and other agricultural advisors, who can complement Eden PA’s analytical and technological expertise with their own knowledge and experience in areas like plant physiology, animal husbandry, or agribusiness.
Eden PA’s customers enjoy smaller minimum area requirements and lower minimum prices, making precision agriculture possible for even small properties. Larger properties don’t miss out on the savings, with Eden PA’s tiered pricing structure which is designed to remain competitive and economical as farm sizes increase. Regardless of your property size, it may also be worth considering partnering with neighbouring or nearby properties and taking advantage of the savings that can be gained through collaboration or group buying, which can potentially cut costs for each participating farmer by more than 50%.