Potato Growers innovators in Variable Rate Technology

January 12, 2016

Ben Poggioli & David Hampton discuss innovation ideas at the Mareeba Field Day 2015

L-R:  David Hampton discusses innovation ideas with Ben Poggioli at the Mareeba Field Day 2015

Many Tablelands vegetable and cropping growers are pioneering new precision farming technologies to improve profitability. 

The use of these innovative technologies enables growers to better manage within-paddock variability, identify emerging problems in their crops and closely target the use of fertilisers to improve yields. 

Queensland’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) worked with Terrain NRM to identify key vegetable growers in the Atherton Tablelands to take part in the project who were committed to trialling and adopting new farming practices. 

DAFF’s Senior Horticulturist Geoff Dickinson said farmers have always been aware of within-paddock variability but, “Now we have the tools to identify this variation, adjust management operations and improve farming profitability.” 

Vegetable growers know exactly which areas of their farm perform well, and which perform poorly, however the scale of their crop’s variation across their farm is difficult to define and therefore treat. Queensland vegetable growers that have trialled innovative technologies as part of DAFF’s project, which is funded by the Australian Government’s Landcare Programme, have quickly identified the tools that determine this variation and show where to focus resources. 

Atherton potato grower, Ben Poggioli, is trialling yield monitoring, crop-sensing and variable rate technology for the first time in Queensland. He said the additional data it provides him allows him to make better decisions and achieve higher yields and greater returns. 

“Even small farms can benefit from the extra input precision agriculture gives you and save a lot of money,” he said. 

Ben discusses how he is using the next generation of precision agriculture technology to manage his crop variability in the following videos:

Link to VRT Project video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1GUN1IOD9o