In a world where everything is digitally connected, data is a critical asset. Food is no different – yet agriculture has the lowest digital adoption of all industries. (Professor Simon Cook, Premiers Fellow in Agriculture and Food)
In the 2018 growing season CSBP will be coordinating a number of paddock scale grower led trials as a part of the On Farm Experimentation Project. The On Farm Experimentation project is part of the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), the WA node which is led by Curtin University and supported by Murdoch University, DPIRD (formerly DAFWA) and CSBP. The lead researcher for the Food Agility CRC and the OFE Projects is Dr Simon Cook, the Premier’s Fellow in Agriculture and Food.
Up until now fertiliser and soil amelioration regimes have only been researched and proven through replicated small plot trials due to the lack of scientific rigour available for larger scale trials. The On Farm Experimentation (OFE) Project introduces a new method of conducting farming input trials, providing growers and their advisors with the opportunity to drive the design of fertiliser trials on their farms. The project aims to assist growers to use spatial data and technology to more effectively manage fertiliser inputs.
Using CSBP’s range of tools such as FERTview, NUlogic and Field Research knowhow, the trials will be planned and implemented on a paddock scale using growers own machinery. The trials will be monitored in-season using plant testing, in-season biomass imagery and application maps to collect as much data as possible before harvest. Once harvested the yield data from each farm will be collated by CSBP representatives and provided to the CRC team of research analysts. The data will be aggregated and analysed to provide growers with the answers on which fertiliser treatment or amelioration method provided the highest yields and whether or not this result was statistically significant or not.
In 2018 CSBP and the Food Agility CRC will be piloting the project with a select number of farmers and their grower groups, expanding participation in 2019 to growers across WA. The trials conducted will be looking at a range of fertiliser and soil amelioration regimes such as:
- Deep ripping x nutrition x lime
- VRT x N at seeding
- Trace element strategies at seeding time
- Nitrogen placement
- Nutrient rates