Virtual library offers farmers field-day experience without the time cost

The project, called Immersive Ag, allows producers to stay on farm but also see and experience field days and workshops.

Its collection will expand over the coming months as this year's trials wrap up.

MSF chair Daniel Linklater said it would allow anyone to "step into a trial site and have a look around from the comfort of their tractor cabin or their lounge room".

"They can jump down into a soil pit, they can click on another button to bring up various data sets, be that crop monitoring," he said.

"Effectively they've been on a field day, they've been in the field, up close and personal, but a very convenient way to do it.

"People are very time poor these days; it's very tricky to get away from your businesses and attend all these various meetings and updates."

Always so much to do
Andrew Biele, a farmer at Bulla Burra, a collaborative farming group near Loxton, said he was always tight on time.

"Really, the most time I have is when I'm home in my beanbag in front of the fire, and this is where this situation will be absolutely fantastic," he said.
"I can even whiz through some of the content that's probably not even relevant to me or the bits that I already know."

Research trials from MSF are also broadcast through the virtual library.

"[You can] see how it's all travelling and experience the results first-hand while sitting in your lounge room or even if you're sitting in the sprayer — if you've got good coverage, tap in and see how things are travelling," Mr Biele said.

Videos won't take away from real field days
Mr Biele said he believed the major field days would still be well attended.

"Being a farmer, I also like to touch and feel and lick the plants and all the rest of that sort of stuff," he said.
"You have time because you haven't spent the other six weeks building up to that going to other field days around the place."

Mr Linklater agreed and said the technology would help maximise farmers' time out in the paddock.

"This will take nothing away from our field days that we have every year, but what it will do is just broaden the reach," he said.

Always so much to do
Andrew Biele, a farmer at Bulla Burra, a collaborative farming group near Loxton, said he was always tight on time.

"Really, the most time I have is when I'm home in my beanbag in front of the fire, and this is where this situation will be absolutely fantastic," he said.
"I can even whiz through some of the content that's probably not even relevant to me or the bits that I already know."

Research trials from MSF are also broadcast through the virtual library.

"[You can] see how it's all travelling and experience the results first-hand while sitting in your lounge room or even if you're sitting in the sprayer — if you've got good coverage, tap in and see how things are travelling," Mr Biele said.

Videos won't take away from real field days
Mr Biele said he believed the major field days would still be well attended.

"Being a farmer, I also like to touch and feel and lick the plants and all the rest of that sort of stuff," he said. "You have time because you haven't spent the other six weeks building up to that going to other field days around the place."

Mr Linklater agreed and said the technology would help maximise farmers' time out in the paddock. "This will take nothing away from our field days that we have every year, but what it will do is just broaden the reach," he said.

Not daunting for older farmers
Mr Biele said it was a great resource for all producers.

"It's not so daunting ... you don't have to be a university student in computers to be able to access it; it's easy," he said.

"The younger-generation farmers, it's just second nature for them and I think it's going to be a tool in their toolbox that they'll use."

 

Source: ABC Rural

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