Australian grains corporation looking to help crop growers collect soil data in 3D

The Australian Grains Research and Development Corporation wants to help grain growers maximise profitability from their farms.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

The Australian Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is looking to explore and identify possible tools and technologies that can help growers create data and identify soil constraints in 3D, and can interpret the collected data on the go.

In a request for tender, the GRDC explained by investing in this evaluation process, Australian growers would be able to accurately and timely make improvements to the soil in their paddocks, reduce cost through the accurate management of soil constraints, and reduce the risk of soil structural damage and yield reduction through incorrect application.

At the same time, the GDRC said the assessment could be used to determine targeted management approaches to help Australian grain growers maximise profitability from not only their paddocks but their entire farm.

"Crop yields are currently constrained across 7 million hectares of duplex soils nationally. High spatial variability has currently limited the adoption of soil amelioration practices with the issue being identified as a high priority by national GRDC grower network meetings in 2018, 2019, and 2020," the GDRC explained.

"Growers have limited access to information on the location in 3D of their constraints at the sub paddock level. This investment aims to identify and report on possible approaches, tools, and technologies that can identify and create data and accurately identify soils constraints in 3D, that will then enable a variable 'on the go' amelioration to be conducted."

See also: Smart farming: How IoT, robotics, and AI are tackling one of the biggest problems of the century (TechRepublic)  

As part of the tender process, GDRC requires an initial report to be delivered by July 2021. The report would outline a financial assessment of the most feasible options, what are the risks in the approach, what are the consequences and risks if nothing was done, and how the technology could be best implemented and delivered.

A second report is then expected to be delivered by September 2021 that provides a review summarising the key technologies required, proposed methods, and a suggested timeline for the development to allow growers to conduct soil assessments on the go.

While no budget has been set for this project, GDRC said the successful applicant will be expected to identify all major players both nationally and internationally in this space.

Submissions for this tender close 14 August 2020.

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