Australian horticultural farmers are being encouraged to contribute to the development of high-tech mapping equipment to improve biological preparedness and disaster response efforts.
The National Protected Crop Map, initiated by Hort Innovation and operated by the University of New England Applied Agricultural Remote Control Center, places businesses, politicians, shadow houses, glass houses and permanent nets in every state and territory of Australia.
Horton Incock, head of research and development at Hort Innovation, said there is currently no comprehensive national crop map, and this new initiative will greatly benefit the industry.
“The knowledge gap in most Australian agricultural industries is a lack of awareness about the distribution and environment of individual crops,” he said.
Knowing where crops are located, establishing isolation zones and coordinating ground monitoring and supporting improved response to biological threats, including the environment of crops affected by natural disasters.
Map – The map, which is being developed with the support of Crop Australia, the Greater Food Systems of the Future, and Greater Sydney and North Coast Local Land Services – will also help farmers with production planning.
According to Matthew Plunket, vice-president of Australia’s expected crop, the industry is pleased with the national initiative.
“Lack of an accurate production environment can lead to very inaccurate pre-production forecasts, which can lead to poor sales forecasts in both domestic and foreign markets.
“Identify the location of certain agricultural systems and provide important information on value chains, tracking, transportation and market access.
According to Andrew Robson, project manager at the University of New England, the same device developed by ARCS with Hort Innovation is already being used in many tree-growing industries, which provides an important basis for this protected crop map.
“This map – developed by a combination of industry data integration, image analysis, landscaping and civic science – meets the requirements of the Australian map, is available free of charge and respects farmers’ privacy by not including any private producer or crop information,” he said. This exciting achievement and collaboration will revitalize Australian horticulture as a global leader in the adoption of new technologies.
“This key strategic initiative will greatly increase industry awareness and design, as well as industry awareness of future opportunities,” said David Ire, co-founder of the future Food Systems Cooperative Research Center.