A collaborative approach to Precision Agriculture RDE for the Australian Sugar Industry
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Strong sugar industry interest in Precision Agriculture (PA) has developed during the 2000s on the back of considerable progress with PA in other Australian agricultural sectors (grains and wine in particular), attempts in the Herbert (HCPSL and partners), and more recently in other districts, to develop a regional harvest management and yield mapping capability, and increased support for initiatives deemed of value in minimising possible impacts of sugarcane production on the Great Barrier Reef, including the provision of grants to growers for the purchase of GPS guidance systems and variable rate controllers for fertilizer spreaders. Against this background, the then Sugar Research and Development Corporation commissioned the reviews contained in SRDC Technical report 3/2007. A subsequent workshop held to mark the delivery of these reviews identified a number of PA-related R+D priorities which collectively could be characterised as being aimed at properly positioning the sugar industry for appropriate PA adoption, supported by access to the necessary technology, skills, methodological protocols and case studies. This project emerged from that process. Its intended focus, was to be based around core field sites in the Bundaberg, Burdekin and Herbert districts which were established with the intent of both PA research and demonstration.