Precision agriculture can sound complicated and technical, but it is just an extension of everyday farming, says Jemma Mulvihill from Vantage New Zealand.
“Simply put, it’s about using the right tools and products for the right application to solve a problem. The results are better environmental management and farming efficiencies,” she says.
Since it started in 2010 Vantage New Zealand (formerly Agri Optics New Zealand Ltd) has grown to be New Zealand’s leading precision agriculture solutions provider. In February 2020 the company was re-branded and re-launched as Vantage NZ, combining the highly skilled and knowledgeable staff from both Agri Optics NZ and GPS Control Systems when the company purchased the Trimble dealership for New Zealand. Jemma says the result has been a more comprehensive suite of services, products and solutions covering the gamut of what farmers may require from one source.
“We are now New Zealand’s only full-time dedicated precision agriculture provider offering a full spectrum of products so we can assist farmers the whole way through the journey, making it more efficient and cost-effective for them to get the support they are after.”
With its head office in Methven and team based around the country Vantage NZ can provide precision agriculture service and support across New Zealand. Jemma says Vantage NZ has a great team offering many years experience, which is important to maximise the potential for clients and to support them all the way through.
She points to examples, such as electromagnetic soil surveying and soil moisture monitoring, as to how precision agriculture solutions can make a real difference to a farmer’s operation.
“By understanding the soil variability across a farm, this can inform irrigation and nutrient application decisions. For example, you might lower the amount of water placed on lighter soils or apply a little frequently, whereas, on heavier soils, you may be able to apply more. Savings in water usage and electricity can be a significant return on investment and also result in the farmer growing better crops. Similarly applying nutrients in the right amounts depending on the soil maximises potential without waste or negative environmental outcomes.”
Precision agriculture solutions can also help farmers to avoid some of the dreaded paperwork, she says. For example, the Trimble GFX-750 display can connect the entire operation with innovative, fully integrated software solutions that transform the way people farm by, for example, sending jobs to tractors from a cell phone or computer and generating farm proof of placement reports etc.
Jemma says because Vantage NZ was established off the back of on-farm use through its founders and directors, this gives a grassroots understanding of what farmers really need. “Our key focus is on helping as many farmers as we can to implement precision agriculture in a sustainable and goal-driven way in their businesses. For us, that starts with understanding the customer’s issues and bringing solutions to the market that make a real difference.”
Article published in: Business Rural South, September 2020