Growing Innovation: Issue 9, June 1, 2016
Precision Farming Field Day showcases variable rate irrigation first for Australian turf industry
For the first time in Australian turf production, Turf Queensland showcased variable rate irrigation (VRI) to over 80 growers at a Precision Farming Field Day earlier this month.
Held at Australian Lawn Concepts’ (ALC) Turf Farm in Boyland near Beaudesert, the Field Day presented innovative technologies to improve efficiencies, yield and profitability in the production of natural turf grass. VRI, tractor mounted variable rate fertiliser applications and the latest in intensive fertiliser technologies to provide a controlled release of nitrogen and protect nutrient sediment run-off were demonstrated and discussed.
John Keleher from ALC and Bob Dover, who supplied the equipment through Zimmatic, provided insights on how VRI can be easily adopted to ensure optimal rates of irrigation are applied to each turf block under pivot irrigators. They demonstrated how the technology not only allows programming of the pivot irrigator to vary its irrigation output per block; it also enables easy variation of the size, shape and number of blocks under each irrigator.
Greg Banff from Golden Finch Lawns and Danny Weire from Precision Ag Solutions demonstrated an automated tractor mounted variable-rate fertiliser and its suitability for turf production and use in broad acre cropping.
Further, Paul Spencer Agronomist from Greenway Turf Solutions provided an update on the ability of controlled release fertilisers to minimise waste, the latest in fertiliser technologies to provide controlled release of nitrogen, and protecting nutrient sediment run-off whilst improving yield and protecting the environment.
According to Jim Vaughan Executive Officer Turf Queensland: “We are extremely excited that the VRI equipment has been installed on the ALC farm, a first for our industry, and the Field Day gave turf growers the opportunity to see it in action for themselves and gain insight into these new advances for turf.
“This technology has been utilised as part of precision agriculture across major commodities such as wheat, cotton and sugar for a number of years and it is a great step for our industry to adopt these technologies.
The field day was supported by Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAFQ).