Precision Agriculture Laboratory (PA Lab)
Precision agriculture offers the possibility of growing better quality crops, while optimising the use of inputs and minimising environmental impacts. It is a revolution in agriculture brought about by the application of information technology.
The Precision Agriculture Laboratory (PA Lab) was established at the beginning of 2012 to operate within the University of Sydney’s Centre for Carbon, Water and Food. The PA Lab is the descendant of the Australian Centre for Precision Agriculture (ACPA) which was established in 1995.
The mission of the ACPA was to provide excellent PA science and training, leading agricultural industries towards incorporating practical, sustainable precision agricultural management techniques. The ACPA built an outstanding national and international reputation by innovatively prosecuting its mission.
The PA Lab is well placed to continue this challenge in an exciting environment where PA technologies and industry knowledge are maturing within a range of industries, and PA will become a crucial component in sustainably (commercially and environmentally) managing all inputs, natural retentions and emissions across agricultural operations.
Historically, agronomic practices and management recommendations have been developed for implementation on a field or paddock basis. This generally results in the uniform application of tillage, fertiliser, sowing and pest control treatments at a field scale. Farm fields, however, display considerable spatial variation in crop yield, at the ‘within-field’ scale.
Such uniform treatment of a field ignores the natural and induced variation in soil properties, and may result in areas being under- or over-treated, giving rise to economic and environmental problems. The more substantial of these problems being: economically significant yield losses, excessive chemical costs, gaseous or percolatory release of chemical components, unacceptable long-term retention of chemical components and a less than optimal crop growing environment.
Precision Agriculture (PA), in the form of Site-Specific Management (SSCM), offers a remedy to many of these concerns. The philosophy involves matching resource application and agronomic practices with soil properties and crop requirements as they vary across a site. Collectively, these actions are referred to as the “differential” treatment of field variation as opposed to the “uniform” treatment underlying traditional management systems. The result is an improvement in the efficiency and environmental impact of crop production systems.
- To continue to review the current knowledge in, and the application technology pertaining to, precision agriculture and ascertain the relevance to Australian agricultural industries.
- To identify the necessary research that will enable evaluation of agronomic practices and recommendations for Site-Specific Crop Management relative to the economic and environmental consequences of its adoption.
- To identify equipment development and technology transfer needs.
- To help facilitate co-ordinated research among interested departments and organisations.
- To investigate the application of a Precision Agriculture philosophy to post harvest processes and thereby increase total quality management.
- To ensure good science and Precision Agriculture research and assure quality educational opportunities for interested users.
- To communicate information about precision agriculture across disciplines, between the research community, industry, farmers, policy-makers and students.
Precision Agriculture Laboratory
Level One, Biomedical Building
1 Central Avenue
Australian Technology Park
Eveleigh NSW 2015.
The Biomedical Building can be located by viewing a map of the ATP.
Or by heading straight to the spot on Google Maps.
We can be contacted by:
+61 2 8627 1132