Fresh Select is one of the largest lettuce and brassica growers in Australia. As a leader in innovation, sustainable farming techniques and responsible practices, they have also been one of the first to trial Precision Agriculture (PA) technology in vegetables.

PA refers to technologies that improve productivity by considering the variability of agricultural land and crop growth at sub-farm, row or plant scale. Also known as ‘site-specific crop management’, PA can ensure the right crop management strategies are implemented in the right place at the right time.

In Victorian vegetable production, PA is in its early days. Compare this with broadacre systems, in which, for example, EM38 mapping and associated variable rate application of different inputs have been utilised for several decades. Uptake of controlled traffic farming (CTF) and auto-steer technology has also been significant in broadacre over the last decade. In horticulture, the practical application of EM38 mapping to inform decision- making has only begun to be trialled in the past couple of years.

Details of when, why and how precision technologies may be best used in horticulture are still open to interpretation. When is it financially beneficial to use PA in vegetable production? How do we translate data into management decisions? And what are the barriers to more widespread use of PA in vegetables?

This case study explores the decision-making processes of Fresh Select along their PA journey.

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