Forum - Managing from the Verandah

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Managing From The Verandah

Using the latest Technologies in
Information and Communication for Agriculture

Wednesday 19th October, 2011

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) developments are revolutionising change in agriculture and enabling technical and management options that were impossible and, indeed, unheard of only a few years ago.

These developments include the use of GPS, auto-steer systems and variable rate technology for precision agriculture. The use of wireless sensor networks provide farmers with real-time measurements of parameters such as soil moisture, crop health and animal movement, enabling better irrigation practices, enhanced management of livestock and monitoring of many aspects on the modern-day farm. ICT is also predominant in knowledge-sharing, weather forecasting, risk management and the provision of extension advice.

The experts speaking at this Forum will present the latest developments in ICT for improved management of crops, pastures, livestock and water on the farm. All presenters operate at the forefront of their sectors and will also participate in an open Q and A session.

  Read the Brochure - Leading technologies in Agriculture Read the Brochure - Leading technologies in Agriculture  (418 KB)


Dr Tim Wark


Tim Wark is a Research Group Leader and PrincipalResearch Scientist within CSIRO ICT Centre where he currently leads the Pervasive Computing Research groupcovering areas of distributed information, embedded systems and sensor networks. The group has worked on a wide range of distributed sensing projects in the agricultural and environmental domains, focusing in particular on the challenges of deriving new levels of spatial/temporal information in these types of dynamic systems. Prior to joining CSIRO, Tim worked for several years in industry research and development around image and audio processing.

Tim is a recipient of the 2008 CSIRO Julius Career Award and has recently held a Visiting Scholar appointment at the University of California, Berkeley. He is on the editorial board of the journal ‘Sensors’ has been on numerous international conference program committees in the areas of sensor networks and pervasive computing.

Quenten Knight


Quenten graduated from Muresk in 1991 and has worked in many agronomy roles with AGWA and Landmark across the West Australian Wheatbelt from Morawa in the Northern Ag region, Lake Grace in the Lakes district to Esperance in the South East. In 2005 Quenten formed Precision Agronomics Australia where he is a consulting Agronomist and Managing Director, Quenten consults to 40 leading farming businesses in the Esperance region mostly North to Salmon Gums and East to Condingup providing agronomy and Precision Ag advice.

The Precision Agronomics team has pioneered the commercial use of geophysical soil surveying in Western Australia utilising electromagnetics and radiometrics to classify soil types by production capability. Precision Agronomics has forged working partnerships with the State’s leading agronomy consultants and machinery dealers to provide a precision ag solution that combines the three essential components to success, quality data, agronomic interpretation and machinery implementation to ensure that farmers gain the most from this exciting technology.No media download found.

David Brownhill


Like many Nuffield Scholars, David wears numerous hats, one of which sees him jointly managing Merrilong Pastoral Company – five properties covering 4735 hectares, which focus on dryland and irrigated grain production. His key interests are no-till farming, controlled traffic farming systems and high value crops.

David is also a founding director of a grower group of 24 farms, AMPS Commercial Pty Ltd, which is committed to information dissemination, structured farming and returning profi ts to research. He is a director of Crop Optics Australia, which imports innovative farming equipment from the US, most notably the Weedseeker, which is radically changing no-till spraying practices in Australia.

An interest in no-till systems was cultivated in 1992 during David’s time at Inverell in northern NSW, and in 1995, he co-developed the Ground Hound Zero till planter, which enabled crops to be planted in heavy residues from previous crops. This innovation led to David receiving his Nuffield Scholarship in 1998 to study spraying technology and business management.

David completed a Bachelor of Applied Science - Agriculture degree at Hawkesbury Ag College and graduated with awards in leadership and sportsmanship.No media download found.

Mark Gardner


Mark Gardner has extensive agricultural experience across a number of agricultural industries. A large component of his time involves working with and facilitating groups and family businesses to improve profitability and sustainability. He also organises and conducts business management and natural resource management education programs using Allan Savory’s Holistic Management®.

Additionally, Mark is a trained business coach for individual farm families and uses the “On Track” process model to improve business performance. He uses this process to produce business plans, and feasibility studies for farm families. Part of this process includes financial, social and  environmental benchmarking.No media download found.No media download found.

J. Matthew Pryor


An experienced entrepreneur, Matthew has operated at senior levels for information technology firms in Australia and the USA. After 6 years in San Francisco which included the rapid growth and eventual acquisition of a company he co-founded, Matthew returned to Australia in 2002. After a year as Vice President of Product Management for a US owned technology company, Matthew joined the investors in Observant, taking on the role of CEO in 2005.

Observant is an Australian—owned company that designs, manufactures and distributes products and services for agricultural, urban and environmental water monitoring and management applications. With its head office in Melbourne, Observant has been operating since 2003.No media download found.No media download found.

Dr Syed Khusro Saleem


Khusro Saleem leads the Water Information Networks project at the National ICT Australia. Since 2004, Khusro has been developing technologies to improve water use efficiency in agriculture. Early work led to the development of innovative wireless sensor networks and feedback control  technologies to simplify and improve automation in flood, furrow and micro-irrigation. In 2008, Khusro co-authored a publication that was awarded the Eckermann-TJA prize for innovative applications of broadband communications to deliver environmental benefits and sustainability.

Khusro has also presented at key national water industry meetings including OzWater and the Australia Water Summit. More recently he has been developing technologies for integrated management and control of large scale river basin water networks and new low-cost, scalable agricultural decision support systems.

Khusro received the BSEE from Northwestern University in 1992, and the MEngSc and PhD degrees from the Melbourne University in 1994 and 1997, respectively, all in Electrical Engineering. Since 1997, he worked extensively in the defence and telecommunications industries. His experience ranges from radar systems, optical tracking systems to high speed modem design for ADSL applications and design of third-generation mobile communication devices.No media download found.No media download found.

Tom McCue


Tom McCue joined the Grains Research and Development Corporation in November 2000. Prior to this he worked for the Australian Geological Survey Organisation, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Medibank Private and the Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business. Tom completed a BSc (Resource and Environmental Management) at the ANU in 1999 and recently completed an MBA at the ANU. Previously he worked as the Panel Coordinator for the National and Southern Panels and for Communication and Customer Services.No media download found.No media download found.


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