Innovative Technology Inspires Efficiency Gains In A Broadacre Western Australian Cropping System
This farmer utilizes cutting edge technology to drive business efficiency, profitability, along with agronomic and staff
managing practices. This 5,300ha continuous cropping operation at Newdegate WA relies on advanced agronomic
practices to assist the sustainability of the fragile landscape. This efficient and innovative use of machinery and labour is necessary to compete as a low cost producer of purely exported grains.
Automatic steering devices, accurate within five centimeters, are fitted to all machinery for planting, fertilizing, spraying and harvesting operations. Machines are 9, 18 or 36m wide and their wheel position is standardized. This system allows for the controlling of soil compaction into precise pathways; the elimination of over and under lapping of machinery passes; accurate placement of seed and fertiliser adjacent to previous furrows; greater control over residue management; and the innovative use of knockdown herbicides applied within crop using a between row application. Variations in operator skill level are eliminated whilst reducing operator fatigue.
A combination of eight years of satellite derived crop biomass imagery, three years of harvest grain yield data, a digital
elevation map as well as comprehensive soil analysis, are overlaid into one data set to accurately define productivity
zones across the farm. Nutrient inputs are varied in accordance with yield potential across the productivity zones for
optimum profit management.
Author(s): Fretwell, Glenn
Organizations(s): Farm Owner and Manager, ‘Katandra Agribusiness’, Newdegate WA