China and New Zealand’s joint demonstration project and cooperation in water-saving agriculture take a pragmatic start

中新节水农业示范推广合作项目迈出务实第一步

继2015年11月份我中心与新西兰林肯农业技术公司就开展节水农业相关合作事宜进行会谈后,双方积极推动,使其不断向前发展。

Since November 2015 our center has held discussions about water-saving agriculture technology and related cooperation with a New Zealand Technical Agriculture Company. The two sides will continue to pursue further cooperation moving forward.

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前不久,我方应邀起草的合作协议得到该公司和新西兰林肯大学的肯定,并得到新西兰政府驻京第一产业代表处和贸易代表处的支持。作为合作的第一步,新方委派专人参加了3月10-11日我中心在海口举办的全国土壤墒情监测技术培训班,就土壤墒情自动测定技术和仪器做了介绍,并进行了田间演示,各地反应热烈。

Not long ago, we were invited to draft a cooperation agreement and received a positive response from  Lincoln University of New Zealand, and also gained supported of the primary industrial representative office  and trade representative office of the New Zealand government in Beijing.

As the first step of cooperation, New Zealand  appointed a commissioner to participate in the national soil moisture monitoring technical training, organized by our center in Haikou on  March 10th-11th. In this training, they introduced Aquaflex and its ability to continuously monitor soil moisture. They gave a field demonstration to the attendees enthusiastic delight.

 

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3月18日,Streat仪器公司专家Jim Herbison先生应邀访问我中心,双方就该设备技术细节进行了深入交流,夯实了合作的基础。谢建华副主任会见了新方专家,鼓励双方务实合作,早日分享合作成果。

On March 18, Aquaflex expert, Jim Herbison, was invited to visit our center at which time we discussed in more detail partnership opportunities and the technical aspects of the instrument. Deputy Director Xie Jianhua led the discussion and encouraged pragmatic, bilateral cooperation to achieve mutually beneficial goals as soon as possible.

(Translated and copied from the original source: http://www.natesc.org.cn/Html/2016_03_24/53167_53814_2016_03_24_424691.html)

Aquaflex NZ – our commitment to customer support

With the recent sale of WaterMetrics to Datacol we would like to clarify how this impacts Aquaflex and assure our customers of continuity of supply and service.

Aquaflex NZ is a division of Streat Instruments and a completely independent company to WaterMetrics or Datacol.

Streat Instruments has a long history in the field of industrial control and telemetry systems and as the designers and manufacturers of both Aquaflex Soil Moisture Sensors and Aquacom Telemetry units, Aquaflex NZ is ideally placed to provide full sales and after sales support for these systems.

We are totally committed to supporting our customers and ensuring they gain the maximum benefit from their Aquaflex and Aquacom systems – please feel free to ring us anytime if you have any questions or require assistance.

Aquaflex NZ supplies Aquaflex and Aquacom products and services direct to our customers and also to distributors such as Boraman Consultants, WaterMetrics, and numerous irrigation companies and consultants.

Please feel free to contact us anytime for sales or service support – 03 3848 900 or e-mail servicing@streatsahead.com

How to use farm environment plans to your advantage

dairyIrrigator

Farm environment plans

The word ‘audit’ usually bears negative connotations of tedious, unnecessary work to appease a faction of government. For Canterbury farmers, a top-of-mind example is the enforcement of ‘farm environment plans’.

Environment Canterbury (ECAN) has recently implemented requirements to have a ‘farm environment plan’ for farms that meet certain criteria based around location, farm size and nitrogen leaching levels.

A farm environment plan is a farm audit focussing on environmental impacts and sustainability. They are part of the larger Land and Water Regional Plan, implemented by ECAN which aims to provide clear direction on how land and water are to be managed and help deliver community aspirations for water quality in both urban and rural areas.

The Hawkes Bay Regional Council has a management plan in place for farmers and the Marlborough District Council have one in place for dairy farmers. However, ECAN covers the widest area.

Plans require detail on the following information:

  • Property or farm enterprise details
  • Map or aerial photos at a scale
  • List of all Canterbury Regional Council resource consents held for the property or farm enterprise
  • Assessment of adverse environmental effects and risks associated with farming activities and how these will be managed
  • How these objectives will be met
    • Nutrient management
    • Irrigation management
    • Soils management
    • Collected animal effluent management
    • Livestock management
    • Offal pits
  • Nutrient budgets

The plan must be audited by a Farm Environmental Plan Auditor before submission to ECAN and be completed and submitted every year.
It’s easy to file compulsory documents away and forget about them until it’s time to submit another report. However, there are many opportunities to be gained from the data collected for farm environment plans.

One example is using the mandatory irrigation and soil management data to farm smarter.

Moisture knowledge is power

Moisture is a critical factor in many farming application areas. It affects growth, quality and profits.

Since moisture measurement is already a requirement for Canterbury farms, it might as well be used to benefit the farm itself.

Having visibility of soil moisture levels across the farm empowers farm managers to strategically place irrigation and allocate resources to areas that need it most.

For example, an accurate soil moisture system, when used in conjunction with feed budgeting information, can be used to predict pasture growth. On large properties, visual pasture assessments often cannot be completed weekly, but using the information from a soil moisture system gives farmers the ability to predict pasture growth based on soil temperature and moisture.

By having a better understanding of soil moisture and temperature, farmers can gain greater value from other tools such as feed budgeting and climate outlooks, contributing to more informed decisions. This helps farmers to assess the risk and opportunities that may exist around future feed supply and demand and allow decisions such as stocking levels, when to purchase or when to sell, to be made in a more informed manner and potentially increase returns to the business.

Accurate data, accurate analysis

Having a soil moisture sensor that measures accurately is obviously beneficial for analysing this type of data. But what makes soil moisture sensors more accurate than others?

Reliable, hardy equipment and an expert support team to consult with are essential to producing quality water moisture data.

Having soil moisture sensors that gather data from a cross-section of soil, rather than just one spot, will help eliminate discrepancies caused by factors such as dripping irrigators, soil variability and stony soil.

Because of the strict regulations within farm environment plans to provide accurate information, installing quality soil moisture monitoring technology will not only comply with ECAN’s specifications but also give greater visibility for farmers to make advantageous decisions to benefit farm efficiency and profitability.