Craige and Roz had a great few days recently attending the International Conference on Precision Agriculture in Sacramento. It was great to see a good number of delegates attending from NZ.
The Keynote speakers were Dr Margaret Oliver from the UK, who spoke on Precision Agriculture, Food Security and Geostatistics, and Dr David Slaughter from UC Davis who spoke on Plant Specific Agriculture. Both speakers certainly set the tone for an interesting conference.
With session covering a wide range of topics from Precision Livestock and Pasture Management to Detecting Soil Pollutants, from Unmanned Aerial systems to Engineering and Energy, the conference offered something for each of the 400 delegates attending from over 50 countries. Craige spoke on our experience with variable rate irrigation. The UAV systems sessions had the most papers presented, an indication of the significant excitement and funding that this area is currently generating.
The final day of conference gave us an opportunity to see Precision Agriculture in action as we visited UC Davis Almond and Walnut Orchard crops looking at leaf monitors and wireless networks for irrigation management; the Morning Star Precision Tomato production looking at the tomato harvester and system logistics, the Netafim irrigation system and the Yamaha UAV copter for row spraying , and the Western Centre of Agricultural Equipment where we checked out a precision weed control/robotic cultivator and a strawberry transport robot. Our final stop was the Robert Mondavi Teaching Vineyard looking at a Grape yield monitor and a Grape berry counting system. It was really great to see what can be achieved when science and farmers connect.
The ISPA conference is held in USA every two years with conferences in the alternate years being held in Europe. For further information visit www.ispag.org