Thursday, June 13, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Queensland Soil-Scanning Innovation A Potential World First

Groundbreaking automation for a soil-scanning process developed at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Central Queensland Smart Cropping Centre could be vital to the future of successful broadacre cropping planning.
Electro-magnetic survey scanning has long been used to identify variability in soils, including assessment of salinity, water and clay content.
The process has usually involved a scanning sled being dragged behind an all-terrain vehicle.
However, in a possible world-first, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries team at the Smart Cropping Centre has developed an automated scanning process.
The innovation has the potential to save hundreds of hours on-farm, freeing farmers, staff and resources for other tasks.
The system they have developed brought together SwarmRobot Sunny and an ElectroMagnetic (EM) 38 Survey Unit and analysis service provided by Data Farming, two of Queensland’s stand-out AgTech and Innovation companies.
"The impact of this innovation for farmers to better manage drought conditions and overall farm agronomy is huge," Queensland Smart Cropping Centre senior innovation broker Alicia Dunbar said.
"We can see this becoming a standard add-on to autonomous robots such as SwarmBots that are continually building hyper-accurate soil and moisture maps in real time.
"These units offer a non-invasive, efficient and precise means of assessing and monitoring soil properties and we’re excited to work with industry to make this a widespread tool for producers.
"The technology supports our research and production systems including soil salinity assessment, soil texture and structure analysis, soil moisture content, mapping soil depth and guiding our soil sampling efforts.
"The Smart Cropping Centre in Emerald is producing real-world results, propelling our research capabilities to better manage the uncertainties of the future in broadacre cropping that will help our famers to be more productive and more profitable."

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