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Precision Ag Solutions at Ludlow Farms

Simon White owns 1100-ha Ludlow Farms in Hawkes Bay, where he produces cereals, seed, squash, and hemp, as well as finishing beef and lamb. He has been working with Vantage NZ since 2015.

His initial goal with precision ag was to understand the different soil types on his property so he could begin farming according to soil zones. He was also looking for ways to comply with ever-changing environmental regulations. The changing landscape of environmental regulations and rising costs present challenges that he looks to tackle with the help of precision technology.

The solution:

Vantage NZ Trimble Ag specialist Wade Riley happens to live next door to Simon and has been working with him since 2015. The first technology they applied was electromagnetic (EM) soil mapping to identify the soil types across their farm. The data captured in the initial EM soil survey has continued to benefit them to this day.

The addition of yield mapping gives them full visibility over the return each soil type and paddock produces. This allows them to farm according to soil types and maximise yield and profitability.

Outcomes:

These solutions have resulted in a 12-15% saving on nutrient inputs on light soils, as the soil type cannot sustain high yields. The nutrients saved are instead put into other parts of the paddock, where the soil type can sustain more yield. In this way, Simon can place the nutrients exactly where they’re needed, minimising waste and maximising yield.

Additionally, having GPS on the tractor gives an approximate 2.4% saving on overlap. This translates into cost savings on all seeds, nutrients, labour, fuel, and tractor hours. Not only that, but driver fatigue and machinery wear and tear are minimised.

Simon explains: “With the data we now have, we use variable rate application to apply fertiliser and inputs only where they are needed on the farm. In terms of quantity that means we only apply how much is needed,” Simon says. “Environmentally, it is good to comply with regulation and also maximise our environmental gains.”

Benefits:

  1. By using their EM and yield maps throughout the season, Simon can use data to ensure zoning is correct and see where each paddock stands in terms of profitability.
  2. With the data he collects, Simon can apply nutrients and inputs only where needed to save money and reduce environmental impact.
  3. They are using these technologies to inform their business decisions.

Simon is now looking at additional on-farm technologies, such as WeedSeeker 2, to further cut costs and reduce environmental impacts.

To find out how precision ag could help you to reduce costs and maximise profits, contact Vantage NZ on 0800 482 682 or vantage-nz.com.

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