Precision agriculture and sugarcane production – a case study from the Burdekin region of Australia R. G. V. Bramley, CSIRO, Australia; T. A. Jensen, University of Southern Queensland, Australia; A. J. Webster, CSIRO, Australia; and A. J. Robson, University of New England, Australia

1 Introduction

2 Yield monitoring and mapping

3 Remote and proximal sensing

4 High-resolution soil survey and digital elevation modelling

5 Data analysis and integration

6 Opportunities for targeted management and the cost: benefit ratio of PA implementation

7 Environmental imperatives

8 Future prospects

9 Conclusion

10 Where to look for further information

11 Acknowledgements

12 References

Precision agriculture (PA) is not new. It is thought that the first published crop yield map obtained on a commercial farm using an on-the-go yield sensor paired to a global positioning system (GPS) was derived from the 1990 harvest of a German canola crop (Haneklaus et al., 1991), although this followed earlier experimental work in the United States using a microwave-based location system (Schueller and Bae, 1987; Searcy et al., 1989). Schnug et al. (1993) provided an early example of the use of yield maps and crop response analysis to develop a targeted liming strategy, whilst Robert (1991) described the early use of variable-rate application (VRA) of nitrogen fertiliser. Many of these early developments in PA, together with crop-specific perspectives, are described in Srinivasan

(2006); Cook et al. (2006) and more recently Bramley and Trengove (2013) provided an Australian perspective. As Bramley and Trengove (2013) noted, there is now a rich literature on PA. It is not the intention here to review or summarise it, although readers interested in the underpinning philosophy are directed to Cook and Bramley (1998), to Whelan and McBratney (2000) and to Fig. 1.