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APA 6. Water Flow Management - Gosden Case Study
15 Apr 2009
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5. Water Flow Management - Gosden Case Study

The Gosden family farm, ‘Orana’, is 795 ha on the edge of the Brigalow Floodplain. Shannon Gosden has been taking steps toward adopting Precision Agriculture to manage water flow and protect their soil resource.

Shannon has been practicing minimum tillage for the last 4 years. He doesn’t plan to move into zero tillage due to the soils and landform on ‘Orana’, and the problem weed Fleabane. The last few years Shannon has been constructing plough-over contour banks in problem paddocks, and tries to retain stubble for as long as possible to minimise erosion damage from summer storms.

Two years ago Shannon purchased the HP Oministar 10cm accurate GPS technology, but has found the need for 2cm accuracy to effectively move into Tram Tracking. In December 2008, the Gosden family purchased the upgrade to 2cm Real-Time-Kinematic, or RTK technology. Shannon admits that the move was initially driven by the need for repeatability, accuracy, and the forecast potential cost savings in fuel, chemical, and time. But he acknowledges that since moving into minimum tillage he has noted marked improvements in the soils texture and quality, and expects greater improvements in the soil’s condition from the move into tram tracking.

With the 10cm accuracy Shannon saw significant reductions in chemical costs, and consequently changed paddock runs to finish on the square, which has reduced the potential for double-spray, and human error. He expects similar improvements with the move to 2cm accurate technology.

The reduction in compaction and improvement in infiltration that will come from the adoption of precision agriculture technologies such as this, coupled with the earthworks that have been undertaken should help manage potential water flow issues on ‘Orana’.

Shannon acknowledges that for the Gosden family operation adopting precision agriculture improvements will be a gradual process but one that they expect will bring definite benefits to their business and their soil resource.

Thanks must go to all participants of the project, with special thanks to Shannon Gosden for participating in the Case Study series.

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