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Turf Queensland in conjunction with the Queensland State government Department of Natural Resources and Mines are involved in direct on-farm research and development through the National Centre for Engineering and Agriculture (NCEA) within the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) based in Toowoomba. NCEA operate across all areas of horticulture and their achievements for all sectors are detailed below which is part of their annual report for 2011-12.. This research is funded under Southeast Queensland Irrigation Futures (SEQIF) program that incorporates the Research and Development Scheme (RADS).

It is important for the Queensland Turf Industry members to understand that investigatory research continues in many areas within the Turf Industry both on-farm and in management and administration to provide the future sustainable results required through improved Productivity, Efficiency and Waste Control.  It is interesting to see what else is happening in other related sectors.

Turf Queensland’s highly experienced  “Industry Development Officer” (contracted) Pat Daley is working with our Turf Industry across the state on water and energy efficiency improvement and all members should take advantage of this on-farm assessment.  To do so (if not already undertaking the process) just contact Turf Queensland.


  • Proximal sensors for remote access of crop and irrigation performance data when the machine is moving. Live video feed and data access is available twice daily when the machine is stationary through remote access software on PC or mobile phone.
  • Packing shed energy audits can save 29% of energy consumption with investment. 10-15% savings are achievable with minimal investment. Generally a lack of understanding of electricity bills, tariffs, negotiable options and suppliers.
  • Energy efficiency options, such as industrial refrigeration, LED lighting and rebates are virtually unknown by participating farmers, thus low uptake of energy efficiency components or prohibitive pricing and ROI are limiting factors.
  • Energy aggregation and load shaving are key areas of R&D and potential savings.
  • Masters student is researching refrigeration technology and energy aggregation.


  • VRI is functioning however there are shortcomings due to inflexible pressure regulation, that is, full potential of irrigation optimisation cannot be realised, without VFD pumps installed as a staged pumping system.
  • Predicted water saving of ~30% is expected under VRI. Capacity to increase dry matter production by >100% based on measured data from last season.
  • Irrigator mounted proximal sensors provided remote access to crop and irrigation performance data when the machine is moving. Live video feed and data access is available twice daily through remote access software on PC or mobile phone.

 Turf (research being undertaken on Australian Lawn Concepts farm at Canungra).

  • Developed a process and analytical methodology to determine turf spatial quality index. That is, a method (tool) to benchmark growth early in the regrowth phase using 2-3 NDVI surveys.
  • The benchmarking tool provides a statistically sound basis for targeting remediation on poor performing areas and reduction in inputs on higher performance areas.
  • The tool provides a method to determine % of turf readiness for harvest and thus a reallocation of resources to the other areas and an increase in whole of farm efficiency.


  • The PWBS has been upgraded with extended water proofing and additional sensors (humidity and temperature).
  • The GUI has been modified to reflect the new inputs.
  • Crop water use algorithm and automated plant response output is under development by a 4th yr student.
  • Five energy audits were conducted at production nurseries. Preliminary results indicate similar issues to those found in horticultural packing sheds. At some sites ad hoc production expansion adds to the complexity and inefficiencies observed. Some have investigate/considered solar energy. Most consider water pumping and heating as the most inefficient areas.


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