Archive for the ‘Precision Farming’ Category

The demand for precision farming training courses doesn’t seem to be slowing down. At the end of 2012 I ran 15 workshops for farmers up and down the country on behalf of Catchment Sensitive Farming.

The 1/2 day courses were the Be precise training courses which have been delivered before, but not on a scale or volume like this. Working with local CSFOs we saw a very different set of farmers, generally farmers who had not been involved with precision farming before and wanted to know more. In a couple of areas we had very experienced farmers who were able to add practical hands on experiences to the course, this always goes down well with the rest of the delegates.

Thankfully feedback was really positive and a copy of the report can be found here.

AHDB photo
HGCA, PCL and HDC staff on a Be Precise training course at Crowmarsh Battle farms

10 staff members of HGCA, PCL and HDC participated in a Be Precise training course at Crowmarsh Battle farms in South Oxfordshire on Wednesday 21st March. The aim of the day was to expand the practical knowledge of precision farming with key members of staff rather than it just being a theoretical process.

I delivered the morning session, which was a Be Precise training course and I was ably assisted by Philip Chamberlain who owns the farm. He was able to provide real practical input of what he’s doing on the farm during the classroom session before we all moved outside to see tractors in action.

Then everyone had a ride on either a Cat tractor or the JCB Fasttrac, both equipped with RTK steering systems to demonstrate the steering systems and how they work in reality.

Overall a great day for everyone and huge smiles on everyone’s face after they had been on the tractors and the steering demonstrations. Thanks to Philip and his team at Crowmarsh for the use of their facilities.

120ft drill-4

It’s one of those sites, even on a photograph, that make you go WOW. The photograph shows a NH T9060 pulling a 120ft wide drill across the plains of Walgett, North Western NSW . It must have been a stunning sight seeing this machine at work, I only saw the photos, but chatted to the NH staff who helped install the tractor and PF kit. The tractor and drill was working in a field that is 2km in length, the use of guidance technology is a no brainer to farmers across Australia. I learnt about this unit via Dan Halliday, the Precision Farming expert within NH Australia.

120ft drill 3I spent a week training the new support company for the NH precision farming software SGS, on how to use the NH Desktop software and that’s when you learn about what Aussie farmers are up to and where they want to go with their PF operations.

I felt that the best UK farmers would match the best Aussie farmers when it comes down to looking at their fields in the detail required to maximise yields and inputs. Very different drivers to managing their fields, but maximising inputs and maximising outputs is what both want to do. As to the rest of farmers the variability in skills is similar, many wanting to learn about precision farming but don’t know where to start.

Swinglet CAM in action

Has anyone seen a piece of technology like this? An unmanned aerial vehicles which could be used by farmers / growers to  monitor their crops or anything else they want to. Not sure of the price, but it seems very interesting for crop and / or livestock monitoring.

Called the Swinglet CAM, this smart flying camera “can be operated by almost anybody, and can take autonomously high-quality pictures of 1,000 acres in less than 30 minutes,” says Andrea Hilldebrand, co-founder of the company.

"The feedback to our product has been very positive," says Hilldebrand. "People loved the possibility to get aerial imagery on the spot, and the ease of operation exceeded their expectations."

The camera-toting UAV can be used for a variety of ag applications, including crop monitoring, imagery, land management, remote sensing, and mapping. IT features a 12 megapixel camera, a 32-inch wingspan, flies 18 to 31 miles per hour, and weighs a bit more than a pound. Its wireless capability allows data linking up to a mile away.

A US-based contact for information and purchasing is being added, but in the meantime the unit can be purchased directly from the company in Switzerland. For more information visit www.sensefly.com