Graslander Uitgawe 2: Somer - Page 7

PRECISION FARMING PRECISION FARMING MONITORING THE USE OF DRONES, SENSORS AND SMART SAMPLING M onitoring variability using different imageries of NDVI (normalised difference vegetation index) is creating remote awareness and therefore increasing the effectiveness of advisors on one side, and creating a situation for wrong interpretation on the other side. The way in which we utilise this information will either create or will not create a demand from the agricultural sector. For example, satellite imagery has been available to most farmers during the last 10 years but the producer did not really experience additional value and therefore the demand did not grow in South Africa. Going a step further by using NDVI-zones for smart sampling purposes is potentially creating a situation for incorrect interpretations and recom­ mendations to the farmer if different methods to create NDVI differ in zones. For example, you can have the same yield in a certain area, but the same yield was created by different scenarios in soil chemical composition and/or soil physical properties. Offering a smart sampling option as alternative to traditional precision farming services, thereby drastically lowering the costs for the client in respect of a survey versus grid sampling, does create an opportunity for easy marketing of precision farming services due to the lower costs for the farmer. But what is the risk to the farmer? The identification of zones does not reflect varia­ bility in soil chemical and physical properties, your chances for success will decrease by at least 50% and it is not sustainable over the long term A good return on investment for the client is therefore at risk Bringing down the soil volumes to SA laboratories will drastically increase the cost of soil ana­ lyses, and more South African soil laboratories will close, which is exactly what happened in countries such as Australia where smart sampling (different reasons for doing it) is the way they do most of their variable rate applications A combination of the above can have a negative impact on the successful implementation of precision farming practices for the client when it comes to variable rate application of lime and fertiliser. Every new method of promoting precision farming services needs to be tested and evaluated as to whether it will be worth the client’s while in the end. To be excited about new services is not a guarantee that the client’s farming operations will be more sustainable. We must introduce new efficiency with a win/win attitude. Writer: Cobus Burger, Business Manager: Precision Farming Services – SGS Verhoog jou boerderyinkomste met wetenskaplike waarnemings, analises en aanbevelings. SoilTrition spesialiseer in chemiese en fisiese opnames op gronde met verskillende groottes ruitpatrone naamlik 0.5 ha, 1 ha, 2 ha en 4 ha. Kry voorskrifkaarte vir presisie kalkstrooi en ander chemiese regstellings op jou lande. Kontak SoilTrition vandag nog vir jou opname by 018 464 7823