Farmer-focused precision agronomy course aims to boost returns for NSW grain growers

SUBSCRIBE to our fortnightly e-newsletter to receive more information like this. NSW DPI Tocal College lecturer Matt Notley, using software in the field: learning how to use digital software in the field: digital technology can help farmers boost their bottom lines, says Notley.

The success of the precision agriculture field days held by New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (DPI) earlier in 2017 prompted the development of a new, grain farmer-focused short course in precision agronomy, to be delivered by NSW DPI’s Tocal College across the state in coming months.

“Feedback from growers, agronomists and industry advisers has led to the creation of [this] new four-day course, which will run in two units a month apart,” said NSW DPI Tocal lecturer Matt Notley on 15 November.

Notley said the nationally-accredited Precision Agronomy for Grain Farmers course is a training program “designed by farmers for farmers”.

“Growers and agronomists are attracted by the hands-on nature of the course, which offers practical approaches and realistic outcomes, where participants learn to better use existing services, technology and data,” he said.

A hands-on approach to using digital tech on-farm

 “New equipment and data-management systems offer farmers the opportunity to lift production and reduce input costs by using available data in ways we had previously not envisioned,” Notley noted.

“The growth and development of digital agriculture is delivering a huge leap forward for local farmers, with sophisticated systems [that] allow them to use data from soil tests, yield and weed maps, and GPS to effectively manage their farming operations.”

The aim of DPI Tocal’s new precision-agronomy course is to help farmers use and integrate the latest-generation technology effectively “to deliver real returns on investment”, Notley said.

The course will show growers, farm staff and agronomists how to use soil maps and analytical software to develop prescription maps for variable-rate fertiliser; soil amendment applications; and weed management systems.

When and where?

The two-part course has been scheduled for late 2017 and into 2018 at locations in Yanco, Trangie, Condobolin and Narrabri across regional NSW.

You’ll need to move fast to secure a place, however: “It’s proving to be popular, with full subscription to the first courses at the Yanco Agricultural Institute this November and December,” Notley said.

More information

For further details on the Precision Agronomy for Grain Growers course, including scheduled dates and locations for 2017 and 2018, visit the course information section of the Tocal College website, or email precisionag@tocal.com.

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