Precision farming

From time to time, some of the more innovative winegrape growers and Australian wineries have considered whether or not our industry could benefit from developing precision viticulture technology. The Phylloxera Board has initiated a number of discussions with major wineries and Riverland Wine to explore the potential. At this stage, it seems to be just beyond our reach. There’s not been enough agitation or enthusiasm from among the ranks of winegrowers to prioritise the development and adoption program. So it’s interesting to read that Peanut growers are trialling powerful, smart mapping technology to gain accurate yield predictions and deliver a significant advantage at harvest time. The trial also enables peanut growers to predict crop disease outbreaks.

The program was developed by Andrew Robson, a University of New England research fellow, in partnership with the Peanut Company of Australia, which has about 200 growers.

The technology is also being adapted for other industries, including sugarcane, avocado and cotton. Potentially a farmer could go in, based on a yield map, and just harvest particular areas at optimal maturity and then leave other areas until they become fully mature. Growers don’t need to be mapping experts or have expensive software to use the cloud-based technology. Peanut growers are confident it will mean more efficient production, reduced costs, better quality crops, lower disease levels and more “paddock-to-plate’’ traceability.

If you’re interested to encourage further development of this technology for vineyards, notify the office on 8584 6399 or email

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