Ag Tech

CQ Smart Cropping Centre develops soil-scanning process

Grain Central, June 6, 2024

AN AUTOMATED soil-scanning process useful for the planning of broadacre operations has been developed at the Central Queensland Smart Cropping Centre.

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, the Qld Department of Agriculture and Fisheries team at the CQSCC has developed an automated scanning process which has the potential to save hundreds of labour hours, and free up the time of growers, staff and resources for other tasks.

The automated process has brought together SwarmRobot Sunny and an EM38 survey unit, and analysis service provided by DataFarming.

Both DataFarming and the Sunny’s manufacturer SwarmFarm are two of Queensland’s leading agtech and innovation companies.

“The impact of this innovation for farmers to better manage drought conditions and overall farm agronomy is huge,” CQSCC 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.”

Source: CQSCC

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