“New Zealand has a unique ability to supply quality produce to a rapidly increasing global market,” says Hew Dalrymple. “But to do so sustainably requires new approaches to farming and new skills for those on the land.”
A Guide to Smart Farming contains a wealth of information that will help. The book encapsulates learning which is the result of many years’ collaboration, especially between LandWISE, the Foundation for Arable Research, Horticulture New Zealand, and Plant & Food Research. It has case studies of farmers using new technologies, and expert articles explaining how the technologies work. At its core are Sustainable Farming fund projects, Advanced Cropping Systems and Holding it Together.
Advanced Cropping Systems followed twelve farmers assessing precision farming technology. Perhaps not surprisingly, the focus for some shifted in the three years of the project. The emphasis is on farmers who are using new technologies, and GPS, guidance, sensors and computing in particular. Farmer case studies are backed up with technical talks from a range of specialists.
Holding it Together focused on retaining soil and soil quality. Plant & Food scientist Paul Johnstone led the Fresh Vegetable Product Group, Potatoes New Zealand, LandWISE project. “There are many practical things we can do to look after this key resource,” he says.
“A Guide to Smart Farming is a great publication,” says Hew Dalrymple. “Every cropping farmer should get a copy and read it. It will help them maximise opportunities and make sure our land and water is in the best condition for the next generation.”