AFTER completing the Grains Best Management Practices (Grains BMP) program, central Queensland grain grower Rhys Daniels developed an action plan to move the family’s enterprise at Theresa Downs, Emerald, to Above Industry Standard.
Grains BMP has been running since 2009 and is a joint initiative between Fitzroy Basin Association Inc. (FBA), AgForce and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
The program helps grain growers benchmark their enterprise against the industry’s best practices and develop an action plan to improve their productivity.
Mr Daniels then attended AskGB and the Tim Neale Innovations Session where he learnt more about Innovations grants supported by FBA through funding from the Queensland Government.
“The support we received in the Grains BMP Program, combined with the knowledge and advice from the additional workshops gave us the confidence to try something new,” he said.
Mr Daniels used Innovations funding to purchase 10 years of satellite imagery of the enterprise’s paddocks and engage a consultant to compare the imagery to previous yield maps obtained from their header.
This comparison will show where the enterprise’s most productive and least productive performance zones are on a fine scale.
“We will then test the soils in the different performance zones and determine if there’s an underlying reason for the reduced yields. If there is, then we can consider investing in variable rate applicators," he said.
“If there’s not a significant difference in nutrient requirements across the zones then we’ve avoided investing in equipment that wouldn’t have increased our productivity.”
Soil testing is a fundamental procedure for grain growers but combining it with fine-scale imagery and mapping data is a new way of evaluating productivity and potentially minimise herbicide and fertiliser use.