The explosion of agtech has resulted in an ever-evolving industry requiring a new set of skills and presenting numerous opportunities to improve farm business and agricultural suitability.
Through funding from the National Landcare Program phase one, Birchip Cropping Group will investigate the use of grid soil sampling to better match nutrient application to soil requirements using variable rate technology.
Grid soil sampling is a relatively new way of understanding the soil and water properties of a paddock to match the nutrient requirement to crop demand, potentially saving thousands of dollars annually. This type of sampling has been done by Ballarat-based company Precision Agriculture for lime, gypsum and phosphorus.
BCG has partnered with Precision Agriculture to soil sample a 140 hectare paddock in the West Wimmera in a grid pattern every four hectares. The soil testing will include nitrate and ammonium nitrogen (0-10, 10-40, 40-70 and 70-100cm increments), electrical conductivity, water percentage, organic carbon, pH, phosphorus, KCl sulphur and Colwell K.
BCG will host a crop walk at the paddock, owned by Alwyn and Jonathan Dyer on June 25 from 1pm. Guest presenters will include Precision Agriculture advisor Daniel Bell, Agriculture Victoria acting grains program manager Melissa Cann and BCG staff. A soil pit will be dug across the farmers controlled traffic farming (CTF) tramlines to investigate the differences in soil properties with discussions on the opportunities for improving soil management under a CTF system including reduced compaction, which will be measured by a penetrometer.
Growers are welcome to attend a West Wimmera crop tour with local agronomist Edwina Simpson leaving Western Ag 8.30am. Growers in the Rupanyup and Southern Mallee can attend a crop drive on June 27 and 28 respectively. The Rupanyup bus will be leaving the Rupanyup Community Centre at 8.30am with discussions on weed and pest management issues that may arise throughout the season.