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AGRI3003 Advanced Cropping Systems And Precision Agriculture

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AGRI3003 Advanced Cropping Systems And Precision Agriculture

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Course Code: AGRI3003
University: Curtin University

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Country: Australia

Question
You need to Prepare a report based on the 2018 GIWA Grains Research Updates (http://www.giwa.org.au/2018researchupdates). The report must include a short synthesis of the main points from each of your chosen papers (a total of six papers), followed by a combined discussion on how, in your view, the activities may contribute to raising the productivity barrier and/ or developing sustainable cropping systems in the future.
This assignment addresses the following unit learning outcomes (entirely or in part):
1. Describe advanced agronomic systems, and understand the relationships between genotype, management and environment; new crop management techniques; precision agriculture approaches and technologies; crop biodynamic models and their application, and decision support systems.2. Discuss the impacts of possible changes in CO2, temperature and rainfall distribution on crop growth and yield at farm and regional scales.3. Design options for future farming systems which integrate knowledge on crop, pasture and livestock improvement and advanced agronomy with likely scenarios for climate variability and change.

Answer

Advanced Cropping Systems

Introduction
Sustainable cropping system is a part of the sustainable agriculture and this helps to maintain the environmental and the soil resources for sustaining the future generations. The sustainable agriculture enables the profitable and accountable production of the energy or fibre and food in order to meet the social needs. The sustainable cropping systems increases the yield quality with minimum agrochemical input, reduces losses due to surface run off, environmental erosion emission of greenhouse gases, improve physical structure of soil for the optimal growth of plants, enhance carbon/nutrient cycling and reduction of predation from crop pests (Davis et al. 2012). This report is a short synthesis of vital points taken from the chosen literature. The discussion is entirely based on raising the productivity barrier or developing sustainable cropping system in the future.
Market-
Are Australian Supply Chains Getting Cheaper? by Peter White, Ross Kingwell, Chris Carter.
It has been found that the grain supply chains in Australia has remained stable or decreased over the past five years. Australian grain export supply chain lacks the transparency and there is need for monitoring the cost of the supply chain. Also, it has been estimated that the supply chain costs in low cost countries like Argentina, Ukraine and Russia will decrease further in future. When the volume of production increases, infrastructure also becomes operational. Australia thus requires to strengthen as well as improve the supply chain, greater investment, and greater grain yields within the supply chain infrastructure. Additionally, Australia also requires higher intensities of cropping in the region that have higher amount of rainfall, and regulatory reforms related to supply chain management. This will greatly help in the reduction of average cost of grain export supply chain (Giwa.org.au 2018).
Nutrition-
Economic perspectives on N in farming systems by David Pannell.
The aim of the study is to focus on the economic aspects of application of nitrogen in crops. It has been seen that the optimum level of nitrogen fertilizer application is both pasture specific and crop specific and it depends on the technical issues (rainfall, soil type, and types of crop) and socio-economic issues (objective of farmer, cost of the fertilizer). The production function highlights the fact that the yield rates are a direct function of the price of fertilizer. It has been seen that the production rates for the nitrogenous fertilizer has a marginal return and this reduces further when the rates of fertilizer are high. When the nitrogenous fertilizer is applied at a higher rate, then the production also declines. If the rate of production rate is relatively flat, then the ratio of the output price to the nitrogen price is also relatively large. The optimal rates of the fertilizer do not solely depend on the technical factors but also on the prices (Giwa.org.au 2018).
Disease-
Factors affecting sclerotinia stem rot infections in canola by Sarita Jane Bennett, Kyran Brooks, Michael Ashworth, Matthew Denton-Giles and Pippa Michael.
During the ideal conditions, over half of the lesions from the Sclerotinia sclerotiorum can be removed by following the guidelines of Harvest Weed Seed Control. After a Sclerotinia sclerotiorum stem rot infection, the number of the sclerotes that are left in the soil is highly variable. However, it has been seen that the infections are significant only in patches. Thus, it is recommended that the rotation of canola with a non-host crop is highly recommended. Even during the late and dry beginning of a season, the sclerotinia stem rot was found to be increased by 10 percent of all the plants. However, it has also been noticed that the yield loss and severity of infection was comparatively less. It has been estimated that understanding the factors that affect the sclerotinia stem rot leads to the improved management of the disease (Giwa.org.au 2018).
Oats, pastures and other legumes- Are rotations offering breaks for root lesions nematodes or crown rot? by Sarah Collins, Carla Wilkinson, and Daniel Hüberli.
The pasture crops are found to be effective towards the reduction of root lesion nematode population in a particular season. However, other than the Pratylenchus neglectus and Pratylenchus quasitereoides the other species can greatly increase the root lesion nematode populations. In a paddock, oats are found to be inefficient in reducing the levels of crown rot. However, when Pratylenchus neglectus is considered, wheat is found to be more susceptible in comparison to the oat varieties. Especially when crown rot is considered, the inoculum level is similar to wheat (Giwa.org.au 2018).
Wheat, barley, oats or pulses-
Optimising grain yield of canola in western Australia accounting for the risk of frost and heat stress by Imma Farre1, Mark Seymour, Martin Harries, Bob French and Jackie Bucat
The best way to maximise canola yield is to sow in the month of April and in the zones that have medium and low rainfall. Additionally, in the months of mid may the yield can be maximised if sowed in the months of high rainfall zones. The reduced rates in the decline of yield is to sow early so that the potential of the yield is high even during the risk from frost and it depends on the location (Giwa.org.au 2018).  
Plant density and nitrogen influences on wheat cultivars in western Australia by Christine Zaicou-Kunesch1, Bob French, Brenda Shackley, Jeremy Curry and Dion Nicol.
The wheat cultivars within an environment having different plant density and different nitrogen concentration in soil did not showed any response of higher yield. These trails were conducted between the years of 2015 and 2016. Studies have shown that plant yield is low when plant are sown in densities below 100 plants per m2. There is a lack of evidence of higher or reduced yield when plants are sown in densities of 200 plants per m2. In comparison to density and maturity, the maturity of the variety plays a major role in greater yield even when the site experiences frost damage (Giwa.org.au 2018).  
Discussion
Nitrogenous fertilizers are one of the best ways to compensate for the lack of nitrogen in the soil but, there are risks associated with the improper application of nitrogenous fertilizers. One of the major flaws is the output to the cost ratio. The cost of the nitrogenous fertilizer is high, whereas the returns from the crop yield do not compensate the same. The optimal rate of application of the nitrogenous fertilizer also tend to increase the risk associated with the crop yield. Thus, crop rotation with a legume crop is the best way to reduce the increased dependence on nitrogenous fertilizers. The legume rotations provide a wide array of benefits which includes the proper weed management strategies, reduced incidence of crop diseases, diversified sources of income. Additionally, there is the provision of atmospheric nitrogen fixation and good quality livestock feed (Savci 2012).
The western regions of Australia have experienced that crop rotation is actually beneficial in increasing the resistance of the wheat crops towards the common pests and the associated diseases. Serradella pastures can be used as a cleaning phase of the root lesion nodules and along with the introduction of nitrogen into soil. To decrease the incidence of root lesion nodule infection, the crop rotation with oat varieties reduces the pest infections and disease incidence. The oat varieties are highly resistant to the P.neglectus and are better in resistance in comparison to a majority of the wheat varieties (Thompson, Zwart and Butler 2012). In the canola cultivation, sclerotinia infection of the stem rot varies to great extent in different seasons. In comparison to the wet seasons, dry season is comparatively the best season for the cultivation of canola due to the reduced incidence of sclerotinia infections (Barbetti et al. 2014).
The optimum period for the sowing of canola depends on the type of the cultivar and the location of cultivation. The sustainable cropping practices that promote high yields is the rainy season where the rainfall varies from mid to low intensities. The beginning to the end of the month of April best suites the cropping pattern. Sowing later increases the risk from frost and thus sowing window plays a major role in increasing the crop yield. Adding nitrogenous fertilizer externally to the wheat cultivation did not yielded as per the desired outcomes. Along with this the plant density of 100 to 200 plants per m2 is found to be ineffective in increasing the yield (Mohammadi and Rokhzadi 2012).
The cost of the grain export supply chain is high due to the varying costs occurring due to spatial and temporal changes. The export grain supply chain cost can be brought down with larger emphasis on the improvement of operations, investment in infrastructure, improvement in the crop yields, intensified cropping in the areas of high rainfall, and regulatory reforms. This will greatly enhance the competitiveness of Australia over the Australian grain exports (Byrne and Power 2014).
Conclusion 
From the above study it can be concluded that, sustainable agriculture enables the profitable and accountable production of the energy or fibre and food in order to meet the social needs. The sustainable cropping systems increases the yield quality with minimum agrochemical input, reduces losses due to surface run off, environmental erosion emission of greenhouse gases, improve physical structure of soil for the optimal growth of plants, enhance carbon/nutrient cycling and reduction of predation from crop pests. Considering Australia, it requires to strengthen as well as improve the supply chain, greater investment, and greater grain yields within the supply chain infrastructure. Additionally, Australia also requires higher intensities of cropping in the regions that have higher amount of rainfall, and regulatory reforms related to supply chain management. This will greatly help in the reduction of average cost of grain export supply chain.
Reference
Barbetti, M. J., S. K. Banga, T. D. Fu, Y. C. Li, D. Singh, S. Y. Liu, X. T. Ge, and S. S. Banga. “Comparative genotype reactions to Sclerotinia sclerotiorum within breeding populations of Brassica napus and B. juncea from India and China.” Euphytica 197, no. 1 (2014): 47-59.
Byrne, Romona, and Damien Power. “Exploring agency, knowledge and power in an Australian bulk cereal supply chain: a case study.” Supply Chain Management: An International Journal 19, no. 4 (2014): 431-444.
Davis, Adam S., Jason D. Hill, Craig A. Chase, Ann M. Johanns, and Matt Liebman. “Increasing cropping system diversity balances productivity, profitability and environmental health.” PloS one 7, no. 10 (2012): e47149.
Giwa.org.au. 2018. “2018 Research Updates”. Giwa.Org.Au. https://www.giwa.org.au/2018researchupdates.
Mohammadi, Khosro, and Asad Rokhzadi. “An integrated fertilization system of canola (Brassica napus L.) production under different crop rotations.” Industrial Crops and Products37, no. 1 (2012): 264-269.
Savci, Serpil. “An agricultural pollutant: chemical fertilizer.” International Journal of Environmental Science and Development 3, no. 1 (2012): 73.
Thompson, John P., Rebecca S. Zwart, and David Butler. “Inheritance of resistance to root-lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus thornei and P. neglectus) in five doubled-haploid populations of wheat.” Euphytica 188, no. 2 (2012): 209-219.

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