For more than 100 years, we've been supporting the development of Western Australian growers and rural communities with a commitment to discovering new and better ways of doing things.
We've been conducting research and replicated field trials since 1923, to better understand the state’s conditions, soils, and fertiliser needs. This long tradition of field research has seen us provide agronomic expertise and strictly facts-based nutritional advice to five generations of WA growers.
Backed by science
The Field Research program which forms the basis of our scientific approach to soil and nutrition, continues to be as important today as it was when it commenced in 1923. Changing farming practices, improved varieties and new crop species mean we are constantly testing and validating new products and practices to help growers continue to produce the high-quality food and fibre Australia is known for.
Trials establish nutritional drivers, demonstrate the importance of balanced nutrition, and show the impact fertiliser usage can have on crop and pasture profitability. For our customers and partners this means best practice and environmentally sound advice, proven high-quality products and locally developed and tested nutritional management solutions.
Our trials database contains over 2,000 trials and covers a range of topics. Using state-of-the-art trial equipment and the latest Agtech, allows us to investigate challenging topics in a range of soil conditions and geographical locations.
Taking field research to the North West – A collaboration in Pardoo
Collaborating in the design and delivery of trials programs often leads to the development of more efficient products and fertiliser solutions that are practical, sustainable and easy to adopt.
One such collaboration with Pardoo Beef Corporation resulted in a pioneering nutrient response trial in north west WA which has uncovered optimal fertiliser use for profitable and sustainable fodder production in low-rainfall areas.
“We’re finding out amazing things about optimal fertiliser use, productivity and profitability, as well as the long-term sustainability of using this method of farming in low-rainfall areas,” said Garan Peirce, CSBP District Manager and Agronomist.
Our soil and plant testing model for tropical grasses is based on 5,000 data points established throughout the trial, giving irrigators a quality-assured system for maintaining and improving productivity.
“We want to make sure that everyone is profitable and that they are growing their cattle as quickly as possible to get them to market,” said Craig Burton, CSBP Sales Manager.
Pardoo Station and neighbouring irrigation projects have since adopted the strategy, significantly increasing their production, profitability and sustainability.
Read more about our Pardoo trial.
Our dedicated innovation team focuses on developing new products and services that have the potential to solve key challenges facing the industry.
“We believe innovation is key to developing environmentally sustainable products and new AgTech services, and generating growth and employment in our regional communities,” said Graham Murray, Agtech Services Lead.
Existing and current data as well as existing modelling techniques and machine learning is used to develop a range of testing models that support on farm management decisions that extend beyond the traditional nutrient requirement factors which influence the effective use of CSBP products.
For many, agriculture has become a major logistics operation, and making sure the right product, equipment and staff are in the right place at the right time has its challenges. In a bid to alleviate this problem, we are in our second season piloting a semi-automated system across the state aimed at improving Flexi-N management and supply using Telstra’s Internet of Things (IoT) tank sensors.
We are comparing traditional pasture measurement methods such as plate cuts and mowers to newer technologies such as drones which use Normalised Difference Vegetative Index (NDVI) imagery to calculate dry matter; and an Automatic Pasture Reader, which is a device mounted to the front of an ATV that uses ultrasonic pulses to measure biomass and convert it to dry matter.
On-farm weather stations have the potential to provide farmers with more accurate and relevant information to make decisions on a range of farming operations such as spraying and fertiliser applications. A station using Telstra’s IoT technology was showcased at last year’s Dowerin Field Days and can capture temperature, humidity, pressure, wind speed and direction, solar radiation and rainfall and display these to the grower in real time.
CSBP’s Field Research Manager Justin Mercy, said Telstra’s environmental sensor was the key to providing a compact solution.
“There are so many data collecting devices available on the market and it can be very overwhelming for a grower, particularly if the data is scattered over numerous platforms. This device allows data from a number of devices to be consolidated into one platform which can be easily accessed,” he said.
“The next phase is to refine this data so it can be presented to the grower in a meaningful way to increase the efficiencies of their farming practices. CSBP is currently working on a number of projects to combine both the hardware and networking power of the Captis Environmental Logger with decision making models that will make the data useful for the grower.”
In-field, real-time plant testing
Following grower feedback on the need for real-time nutrient status insights, especially nitrogen, we will pilot a hand-held near-infrared spectrometer for in-field, real-time plant testing this year, after extensive field testing across WA and the East Coast.
Having this information on-hand reduces uncertainty of nitrogen application and allows growers to align fertiliser applications with seasonal conditions, upcoming rainfall events and other activities like fungicide spraying.
The device eliminates the need to upload large quantities of data to the cloud or complicated software to process imagery.
We've been conducting extensive field trials and lab testing to evaluate various technologies. This in turn reduces the need for growers to spend as much time and effort dealing with a broad range of technologies and Agtech companies to find the one that works as intended.
“We have sought grower feedback on the outputs from the solution developed to date and will continue to do so to ensure that it will help growers optimise their economic potential from fertiliser applications,” said Douglas Hamilton, Senior Digital Agricultural Specialist.
“It’s not about trying to make a problem fit a generic solution, or using tech for tech’s sake. This project is about understanding a problem growers face, evaluating the current options and building a fit for purpose solution that doesn’t complicate farming operations.”
Making the most of on-farm data
Our expanding suite of nutritional planning and management tools such as DecipherAg and NUlogic assist growers in increasing their yield, optimising their profit and ensuring the sustainability of their businesses throughout the year.
DecipherAg provides powerful functionality and insights, identifying paddock variability using satellite imagery, NDVI and Normalised Difference Red Edge (NDRE). It allows growers to monitor production throughout the year, compare growth performance, track trends and organise information.
Pre-planned or ad-hock sample geo-coordinates can be recorded against sample information and lodged for analysis on the mobile app. The app also allows the user to view notes, NDVI satellite imagery and more.
NUlogic Soil and Plant Analysis provides practical information that growers can use to manage farm nutrition. Combining decades of trials data and local knowledge, it provides a comprehensive agronomic and economic analysis of nutrient levels and fertiliser recommendations matched to soil type, crop type and target yields, helping growers maximise nutrient efficiency.
CSBP Research Results website
Our recently launched Research and Agronomy website showcases its field research from the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Easily accessible on any device, growers can view relevant trial information while in the paddock, throughout the growing season allowing for informed, more effective and timely nutrient decisions.
Sharing results online in a user-friendly way, instead of traditional print and distribution, is not only beneficial for growers but leads to increased collaboration with universities, government organisations, research institutes, peer companies and industry partners to push the boundaries of agronomy and shape the future of agriculture.
Senior Agronomist, Luke Dawson added, “We’ve been part of the agricultural industry for well over 100 years, and to continue to add value to the industry, sharing research in a collaborative way means we will get better, more varied feedback that will help us continue to improve our research. Being part of a good, sustainable industry – it’s about giving back but also improving the industry.”
You can explore our research results at csbpresults.com.au.