TECH SAVVY: Calliope Station grazier Will Wilson.
TECH SAVVY: Calliope Station grazier Will Wilson. Matt Harris

Farming technology revolutionising the land

CALLIOPE Station owner and AgForce Queensland cattle president Will Wilson is a big believer in farming technology.

The grazier is working on an innovative project with Hitachi that will use quantifiable data to find best land management practices.

Mr Wilson is a regular user of drones to muster cattle and is always open to new ideas.

"I've always said if there's a better way of doing things let's find out about it," Mr Wilson said.

 

Will Wilson from Calliope Station uses his DJI Mavic to muster stock.
Will Wilson from Calliope Station uses his DJI Mavic to muster stock. Mike Richards GLA090318DRON

"We've been doing a project with Hitachi - water monitoring, soil moisture monitoring and weather monitoring to try and give us a baseline or an objective measure about what's going on with soil and moisture in our industry, such as how full the tanks are, which goes into animal welfare.

"Animal welfare is the buzz thing at the moment. If you can't measure it you can't manage it so we are moving down that line.

"We've also started another sustainability project about our carbon footprint.

"Because we can measure the amount of pasture growing or what our carbon cycle is on the ground we want to then be able to measure how much fuel and fertiliser we're using - measure all of our inputs and measure that against all of our carbon emissions.

"We cool-burn fires, we like to rotate cattle to try and recycle the carbon in the soil as quickly as possible.

"That takes the 'us and them' out of it but one thing I really like about that project is it's all objective.

"It's all based on fact and you're not guessing 'I think I've got 500 cows', it's actual numbers."

 

Calliope cattle farmer Will Wilson's iPad has become a vital business tool.
Calliope cattle farmer Will Wilson's iPad has become a vital business tool. Helen Spelitis

Mr Wilson said the project could also apply to how much dry matter had grown, the amount of fuel burnt and other measurable factors.

"Then when we are making the science behind our prediction of being carbon neutral we can work out where we are at," he said.

"If we are terrible we'll be honest about it and work out ways to improve.

"I'm pretty confident that we're not too bad... but we can't prove it so let's get society trusting us again so we can start managing our land like we should be.

"We are best managers of the day for the land.

"We're here and we are in business so we are obviously doing something right.

"I'm pretty sure in five years time we are doing things better than we are now and in 15 years time we are probably completely evolved and doing something different again."



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