Cotton Young Farming Champion Casey Onus takes farming technology into the classroom

Keeping up with the ever-changing world of technology is often a challenge but Cotton Young Farming Champion Casey Onus is keeping cotton farmers abreast of changes in big data and farm-based technology such as drones.

“Big data is basically a fancy term for collecting all the information that comes off your farm,” Casey says. “Collecting big data enables us to make smarter decisions about where we spend our money and where it is going to have the most impact, and also allows us to pick up problems in paddocks that we can then rectify.”

The simplest example of big data is yield information. Data can be collected straight off the header and processed into paddock images. It can also be combined with satellite imagery such as NDVI (normalised difference vegetation index), allowing management plans to be made of paddocks, which in turn can lead to more targeted application of inputs such as fertiliser.

“Big data helps to make the agricultural industry as a whole more efficient,” Casey says. “By monitoring and collecting various forms of on-farm data we can really tweak efficiencies. This enables us to minimise the overuse of fertilisers and other products, and responsibly manage our environmental impact well into the future. It also aids biosecurity. When the Russian Weed Aphid came in and caused problems for the grain industry, it could actually be mapped across a geographical area from advisors scouting using some of these big data programs. If all of these programs talk to each other you can literally map that across Australia. And that’s huge. That gives potential to know what is happening at any given point in time and allows us to react accordingly.”

Although Casey believes satellite imagery and big data remain more economical for large-scale crops, she knows smaller technology such as drones has multiple uses on the farm from stock scouting in rugged terrain to monitoring water troughs and weed populations. At the recent Tocal Field Days she took drone technology to interested members of the public. “We set up a drone simulator on the big screen in the Hunter Local Land Services’ tent to encourage people to come and ask their questions about using drones on farm and to have a go at flying before they make the investment to get one,” she says. “The drone simulator was quite popular, especially with the school kids on the Friday, but we had quite a lot of landowners come with questions about CASA rules, utilising drones on-farm in their individual situations and even questions from people who had already purchased a drone but didn’t quite have the confidence to fly it yet.”

Casey Onus tocal 069 (4)

Casey will continue the story of cotton and technology as she goes into schools as part of this year’s Art4Agriculture The Archibull Prize. Working with students from Oxley High School, Irrawang High School, Raymond Terrace Public School and Muswellbrook High she will help foster relationships between the community and the Cotton industry.

#WearCotton #WeloveCotton #ThisCottonPickingLife #YouthVoices18 #ArchieAction #YouthinAg

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Young Farming Champions taking the farm to the city

Last week our Young Farming Champions took the fresh young face of agriculture into schools  participating in The Archibull Prize in Sydney and Wollongong

Cotton Young Farming Champion Emma Ayliffe shared her career journey  with students and teachers at Granville South Creative and Performing Arts High School, Parramatta Public School and Kurring-gai High School.

Emma had great success with her Name the Good Bugs/Bad Bugs game turning students with no previous experience into experts in 20 mins.

She found it very rewarding to hear from the teachers of  the Power of the Cow in Archibull Prize schools.

She took her hat off to the team at Parramatta Public School who have formed a partnership and are working directly with 90 students to complete the program

Horticulture Young Farming Champion Tayla Field supported by the Aussie Farmers Foundation took the story of fruit and veg into schools in the Eastern Suburbs and to Gywnneville Public School

With strong messages about eating fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy diet

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Students at Little Bay Community of Schools and Gwynneville Public School (below) embrace the concept of Eating a Rainbow of fruit and vegetables every day Gwynneville Public School

and the importance of traceability and biosecurity Tayla was a hit with the students

Tayla was thrilled to see the students eyes light up when she showed the level of technology available to farmers in the horticulture industry she loves

Wool Young Farming Champion Sam Wan had Wooley Dooley time with students at Picnic Point High School. Read all the fun here.

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