Robots Drones & Sensors Popular at Agrotrend

The Robots Drones & Sensors; Future Farming Masterclasses at the BFVG Agri-Hub were a real hit at Agrotrend this year.  If you missed it, never mind because we recorded each presentation and have posted these on our website – WATCH NOW!

Throughout the two days of Agrotrend, scientists, researchers and innovative ag-business people presented and demonstrated robotic, drone and sensor technology applications for farming systems. More than 1,500 people visited the hub, with 424 people actually participating in a masterclass. Masterclasses were delivered every hour, and included demonstrations of a SwarmBot robot and “Harvey” a Robotic Capsicum Harvester.  Other presentations and exhibits included RapidAIM sensors, drones for use in vertebrate pest management and weed control, precision-ag smartphone hacks, and a pop-up MakerSpace.

The event was an initiative of Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ (BFVG) VegNET project and CQUniversity, funded by the Queensland Government’s Engaging Science program. It involved participation from the CSIRO, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), Community Lifestyle Systems (CLS), LESS Industries, Aerobugs Pty Ltd, and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

 

 

Students studying at CQUniversity volunteered their time at Robots Drones & Sensors to assist BFVG in coordinating the event.  They conducted important evaluation of the masterclasses, interviewing fifty two (52) people throughout the two days.

The evaluation identified that 27% of participants were growers of a horticulture commodity, and that an additional 15% of participants were a primary producer from an other industry (cane, beef, cropping, for example).  The results of the survey further identified that while 50% of participants interviewed did not identify as a primary producer, more than half of those worked in agriculture.

The evaluation additionally aimed to capture data about the current use of technology on-farm and if the information in the masterclasses could be effective in encouraging further uptake of available technology.  This question was directed only at respondents that identified as a ‘grower’ and/or a ‘primary producer’.  The results of this were as follows;

  • More than 10% percent stated that they were already using the technology on-farm.
  • Nearly a quarter said that they were still uncertain about the use of the technology on farm.
  • More than 50% indicated that as a result of the masterclasses, they would consider investigating the use of the technology on their own farms.

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Eighty seven (87) percent of respondents scored the event as being “highly” and “very” interesting, informative and enjoyable.

All masterclasses were filmed and are available on the BFVG website – TAKE ME THERE! For further information about Robots Drones & Sensors or to be advised when the videos are posted online, email BFVG.

Source & Acknowledgements:  Post written by Michelle Haase – Vegetable Industry Development Officer (VegNET) with Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers – www.bfvg.com.au. Funding for the VegNET National Vegetable Extension Network program is from Hort Innovation with vegetable grower levies and funding by the Australian Government.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Technology Exhibits in BFVG Agri-Hub at Agrotrend

We are pleased to be showcasing technology for use in agriculture in the BFVG Agri-Hub at Agrotrend next week, as a part of our Robots Drones & Sensors; Future Farming Masterclasses. Exhibitors in the BFVG Agri-Hub will be on-hand throughout the entire two-days of Agrotrend, to talk to growers, croppers, and graziers about robotic, drone and sensor technology application in agriculture.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) will be one of the main exhibits in the BFVG Agri-Hub. They will be on hand to tell growers all about precision agriculture and how it can help their vegetable enterprise. DAF Development Horticulturist Celia van Sprang said the focus would be on how to best adopt precision ag technologies to suit individual needs.

“We can give advice on what equipment options are available and the experiences early adopters have had.”

Celia van Sprang

DAF will additionally will have on display a range of telemetry loggers that monitor cool chain conditions, collecting continuous data, for fruit and vegetables in domestic supply chains. They will demonstrate a live web-based link to remote air temperature monitoring devices that are enabled to allow real time monitoring of export shipments of citrus to Asian ports.

Community Lifestyle Solutions (CLS) with a “Pop Up Makerspace” is another major exhibitor in the BFVG Agri-Hub.  The Makerspace will demonstrate gadgets such as 3D printers and mechatronic-type technology. Community Lifestyle Support (CLS), a not-for-profit organisation providing a wide range of health and community services to people living throughout the Central Queensland region.  CLS secured funding through the Advance Queensland’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership Program to develop a technology enabling people with severe and complex physical impairments to control electronic devices. CLS have worked with primary producers that have physical impairments to assist them is staying on-farm.

Damien Tracey, the Chief Executive Officer of CLS, will also be presenting a Future Farming Masterclass at Agrotrend, on the Maker Movement.  He will be highlighting potential for agrarians, technologists and makers to collaboratively drive improvements in farming technologies and practices.

Other exhibits in the BFVG Agri-Hub include BFVG’s VegNET project, Aerobugs, LESS Industries, CQUniversity, CSIRO and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). The exhibits in the BFVG Agri-hub will compliment the series of Robots Drones & Sensor; Future Farming Masterclasses which will be held every hour, over the two-days at Agrotrend.  The Future Farming Masterclass itinerary is available on the Agrotrend website – www.agrotrend.com.au.

The BFVG Agri-Hub is an initiative of the Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers (BFVG) made possible with funding from the Queensland Government from the Engaging Science program.  BFVG are coordinating the project in partnership with CQUniversity, to bring robotic, drone and sensor experts from throughout the country together to extend information to primary producers.  BFVG is launching the Robots Drones & Sensors event with an Industry Breakfast for primary producers and industry stakeholders.

RSVP for the Industry Breakfast is essential and can be done online or by contacting the BFVG office on 07 4153 3007.  RSVP’s are not necessary to participate in a masterclass.

Source & Acknowledgements:  Post written by Michelle Haase – Vegetable Industry Development Officer (VegNET) with Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers – www.bfvg.com.au. Funding for the VegNET National Vegetable Extension Network program is from Hort Innovation with vegetable grower levies and funding by the Australian Government.

 

 

 

 

 

Agrichemical Pest Management Needs + Priorities Workshop

Obviously, pesticides are an important tool in the production of vegetables. They control various diseases, weeds and insects that affect crops and severe economic losses in modern, high intensity growing operations.

To ensure that the agrichemical needs of the vegetable sector are accurately recorded and understood, AUSVEG is coordinating the  Vegetable Agrichemical Pest Management Needs and Priorities (VG16060) project, a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund. The project’s objective is to coordinate vegetable industry agrichemical pest needs by prioritising and identifying potential gaps. Gaps identified in this process will inform industry actions at the annual AgChem Collaborative Forum.

Patrick Arratia, is the Project Coordinator, and responsible for establishing the prioritisation process in consultation with Australian vegetable growers.  Patrick is honing in on singular commodity groups for this process, and will be visiting Bundaberg to meet with local sweetpotato and zucchini growers from throughout the Wide-Bay Burnett region.

The workshops are being held in the first week of May, on Friday 4 May 2018 – at the Bundaberg Business Enterprise Centre (cnr of Quay and Tantitha Streets, Bundaberg).  So, if you grow sweetpotato or zucchinis, come along to a workshop to discuss and contribute to an effective pest and disease prioritisation process.

Sweet Potato in boxThe workshop for sweetpotato growers will be at 10am to midday, and includes light lunch and refreshments – RSVP online.

The workshop for zucchini growers will be from 1pm to 3pm, and includes afternoon tea – RSVP online.

For further information contact Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers’ Vegetable Industry Development Officer, Michelle Haase – 07 4153 3007 or via email.  Project queries or technical questions can be made directly with Patrick via email or mobile – 0418 982 572

Source & Acknowledgements:  AUSVEG – Industry representative body for vegetable and potato growers – www.ausveg.com.au. Post written by Michelle Haase – Vegetable Industry Development Officer (VegNET) with Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers – www.bfvg.com.au. Funding for the VegNET National Vegetable Extension Network program is from Hort Innovation with vegetable grower levies and funding by the Australian Government.

 

 

 

 

 

InfoVeg TV for Growers

Have you discovered the wealth of communications resources available to vegetable growers created by AUSVEG yet?  If not, you are in for a total treat!

InfoVeg TV, InfoVeg Radio, VegeNotes and two magazines (Vegetables Australia and Potatoes Australia) are just some of the resources created by AUSVEG to communicate the latest R&D info in a creative and easily digested format.

The latest InfoVeg TV episode takes a look at these industry communications which deliver information on levy-funded research and development projects right to growers’ doorsteps. Dimi Kyriakou (from AUSVEG) and Greg Murdoch (from Hort Innovation) are featured in this short five (5) minute episode.  They discuss how the AUSVEG communication products aim to increase growers’ understanding of levy-funded research and development projects.

Other topics covered on InfoVeg TV are;

If you’re a grower and keen to keep up to date with R&D in the vegetable industry while on the go, check out InfoVeg TV.

PS.  While we’re on the topic of communicating, levy-paying growers can go in the running to win $1,000 worth of John Deere tools just by participating in a short online AUSVEG survey.  The survey is an opportunity to contribute to the direction and content of AUSVEG communications.  Responses to the survey will be used to inform AUSVEG on topics to cover in their communications and how they can provide the information that growers are looking for.  To take part in the survey, click here – closes in a couple of weeks, so don’t miss your chance!

Source:

AUSVEG – Industry representative body for vegetable and potato growers – www.ausveg.com.au.

Acknowledgements: 

InfoVeg TV is funded by Hort Innovation using the potato research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Post written by Michelle Haase – Vegetable Industry Development Officer (VegNET) with Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers – www.bfvg.com.au. Funding for the VegNET National Vegetable Extension Network program is from Hort Innovation with vegetable grower levies and funding by the Australian Government.

 

 

 

Moth de resistance!

Insecticide resistance is a major issue for growers in managing pests.  The Diamondback moth (DBM) is top of the stakes when it comes to out-competing those in the business of keeping pests at bay.

Growers of cruciferous crops are all too familiar with the DBM, also known as cabbage moth or Plutella. DBM has an unrivalled ability to develop resistance to all classes of insecticides and is potentially the most damaging and difficult to manage pest of brassica vegetable crops. The cost of controlling DBM globally is estimated to be between $4 and $5 US billion per year; it is considered the most economically important pest of cruciferous crops in Australia.

Sustainable management of DBM requires the adoption of flexible integrated pest management strategies. As DBM continues to outsmart growers, researchers at the University of Queensland have been conducting research into how the DBM metabolically detoxifies insecticides.   The research was funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited (HIA) from vegetable R&D levies and funds from the Australian Government.

Their findings were released recently – Manipulation of regulatory microRNAs to suppress insecticide resistance in diamondback moth. It’s complex stuff but here are a few key points;

  • the way in which the DBM develops resistance is through metabolic detoxification
  • the project explored the effect of insecticide resistance and insecticide exposure on the microRNA profile of DBM larvae – microRNAs are small ribonucleic acids that play significant roles in various physiological and developmental processes in all plants and animals by regulating expression of genes
  • results showed changes in the microRNA profile of Deltamethrin-resistant and Chlorantraniliprole-exposed DBM larvae
  • results also showed that one of the microRNAs (miR-2b-3p) can significantly enhance mortality in Deltamethrin-resistant DBM larvae; feeding this microRNA to the Deltamethrin-resistant DBM larvae led to increased mortality when the larvae were exposed to the insecticide, i.e., it reduced resistance
  • to move towards a practical application of the findings, researchers are using this information about the microRNA to produce genetically modified plants that contain the microRNA.

In the meantime, the best means of keeping on top of DBM is through flexible and multiple control strategies in keeping with IPM (integrated pest management) and IRM (insecticide resistance management) plans. Key to these are;

  • correct identification of DBM throughout all life cycle stages
  • regular and rigorous crop inspection and monitoring (scouting)
  • early detection
  • recognising weather conditions conducive to DBM reproduction and growth (warm, moist conditions),
  • encouraging natural predators to DBM by minimising the use of broad spectrum insecticides,
  • good farm hygiene such as ploughing in harvested crops
  • ensure use of insecticides only when required and at the correct life stage of the insect being targeted,
  • rotating between insecticide groups to minimise the risk of insecticide resistance (check out the CropLife website for more information on this).

Issue 9 of Vegenotes, a publication created by Ausveg, describes these measures in greater detail.  There are some useful websites with excellent information; check out the Queensland Government’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website, and Cesar.

To stay connected with BFVG and for further resources/information on events in the Wide Bay-Burnett region, go to our website or subscribe to our Fresh Pickings newsletter.

Sources:

  1. Asgari, S. (2016) Manipulation of regulatory microRNAs to suppress insecticide resistance in diamondback moth. The University of Queensland.
  2. Ausveg Limited (2008) Vegenotes Issue 9 – Diamondback Moth.
  3. Queensland Government. (2012) A-Z List of Horticultural Pests (website).

Acknowledgements: 

Funding for the VegNET National Vegetable Extension Network program is from Hort Innovation.


Podcasts for growers

Have you discovered the delicious world of podcasts yet?  If not, you are in for a total treat!

A podcast is a digital audio file specifically made for downloading online, for you to listen to at your leisure.  You can usually subscribe to a podcast so that you automatically receive updates from the creator of the podcast when a new one is available.  Basically, it’s like setting up your set-top box to record a television program, but for your ears.  If you, like me, enjoy listening to programs on the radio but frequently miss them, then subscribing to a podcast for that radio program, might be just the ticket.

InfoVeg Radio is an R&D-focused podcast that has been developed by AUSVEG for vegetable growers. It is designed to allow easy access to the latest in vegetable R&D and there are several ways to listen while at home or in the paddock. The most recent podcast is about postharvest practices and technologies, and it is easy listening and highly informative at the same time. It includes an interview with Dr Jenny Ekman, who is going to be a guest presenter at a workshop that we are running later this month.

If you’re a grower and keen to keep up to date with R&D in the vegetable industry while on the go,  check out InfoVeg Radio. For further information on resources and events for vegetable growers in the Wide Bay-Burnett region, you can go to our website or subscribe to our Fresh Pickings newsletter.

Source:

Ausveg – Industry representative body for vegetable and potato growers – www.ausveg.com.au.

Acknowledgements: 

Funding for the VegNET National Vegetable Extension Network program is from Hort Innovation.