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APA 1. Accelerating Precision Agriculture in the Condamine Catchment - Case Study Series
15 Apr 2009
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Accelerating Precision Agriculture in the Condamine Catchment - Case Study Series

In 2008-2009 Brigalow Jimbour Floodplains Group, one of seven Landcare groups in the Condamine Catchment, undertook a precision agriculture project that targeted land managers in priority areas to significantly increase their adoption of cropping Best Management Practice while reducing their environmental footprints.

The Condamine Catchment covers an area of 29,150 square kilometres, stretching from Warwick to the south east and Chinchilla to the north west. The Brigalow Jimbour Floodplains Group encompases 6,900 square kilometers of grazing and prime agricultural farming land within the Condamine Catchment.

The project had a two pronged approach to increasing the uptake of sustainable production. This placestory is one of 10 that will focus on one aspect of the project, that being to increase the adoption of precision farming systems from 5% to greater than 30% on 70,000ha of the Brigalow Jimbour Floodplain.

The project involved partnering with local businesses to establish six RTK base stations in the region, to suit precision farming to a 2cm accuracy. It is capable of covering 280,000ha. The availability of this technology to land managers significantly increased the uptake of sustainable production by eliminating overlapping, which reduces time, fuel consumption, and pesticide and fertiliser requirements, thereby reducing their risk of being lost to the environment.

Precision farming with 2cm accuracy will also allow banded spraying for row crops, where only the narrow row crops are sprayed directly with residual herbicides such as atrazine, while in between crops sprayed with a knockdown herbicide like glyphosate may reduce residual herbicide use by 50-80%.

Landholders recognise the need to reduce costs to remain competitive and minimise their environmental footprint on the landscape in order to achieve long term resource sustainability. They also want to remain ahead of compliance requirements in order to obtain market advantages and possible premiums.

To illustrate the outcomes achieved Brigalow Jimbour Floodplains Group has a series of ten placestory case studies where landholders share the reasons behind their adoption of precision agriculture technology.

While landholders in these case studies acknowledge that often they are dollar driven as to why, when, & how they move into precision agriculture advancements, they also recognise that in order to be viable in the long-term they must take steps to continually aid the sustainability of their environmental resources.

Thanks must got to all participants of the project.

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