Goondwindi forum: How hands free farming just became a reality

Automated machinery, remote agronomy successfully grows first cereal crop

Cropping
GRDC grower relations manager north Richard Holzknecht says the achievement of the Hands Free Hectare project will be a highlight of the Grains Research Update in Goondiwindi next week.

GRDC grower relations manager north Richard Holzknecht says the achievement of the Hands Free Hectare project will be a highlight of the Grains Research Update in Goondiwindi next week.

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The Hands Free Hectare project will be a highlight of the Grains Research Update in Goondiwindi next week.

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A UK research engineer who has helped successfully grow the world’s first ‘hands free’ barley crop will share his experiences at a grains research and development forum next week.

Martin Abell from farming services company Precision Decisions will deliver the keynote address at the GRDC Grains Research Update in Goondiwindi on March 6.

Mr Abell will explain the achievements and challenges of the ground-breaking Hands Free Hectare Project, a UK farming feasibility study, which used automated machinery and remote agronomy to successfully grow the first cereal crop to be planted, tended and harvested without ‘operators in the driving seat or agronomists on the ground’.

The project attracted global attention after its researchers grew one hectare of barley in 2017 without humans entering the paddock.

Carried out by Harper Adams University in Shropshire with Precision Decisions, the Hands Free Hectare Project produced a crop that yielded 4.5 tonnes per hectare.

GRDC grower relations manager north Richard Holzknecht said it was an opportunity for growers and agronomists to hear first hand about this innovative project, which highlights the opportunities and possibilities of autonomous machinery and new technology in the paddock.

“Beyond the key note address this year the Update features a line-up of Australian experts, who are presenting the latest information from GRDC investments in research and development,” Mr Holzknecht said.

“So we encourage growers and agronomists to come along, because these insights and this new knowledge from could help inform their decision making for 2018.”

With the theme of ‘Driving profit through Research’ the Goondiwindi GRDC Update will include presentations from soil nutrition expert Professor Mike Bell on key learnings from a six week study tour in Europe; as well as spray specialist Bill Gordon, who will offer the latest advice on nozzle selection and spray application guidelines.

Charles Sturt University researcher John Broster will also provide data from a major herbicide resistance survey across Queensland and NSW with information on emerging weeds of concern.

The update will also include presentations on key agronomic issues and the latest farm ready research on disease, pest and weed threats, crop nutrition and crop performance, and combating soil constraints.

CLICK HERE for more information on the Goondiwindi GRDC Update or call 02 9482 4930 or email: erica@icanrural.com.au

The GRDC will also hold a one-day Grains Research Update at Allora on March 8.

The story Goondwindi forum: How hands free farming just became a reality first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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