The network will give growers unprecedented access to the vital weather data needed to minimise the risk of spray drift.
After meeting with stakeholders and advocating for this pilot project to be supported I am pleased to see The Ag Excellence Alliance receive funding which will see 40 solar-powered weather stations installed at selected sites throughout the Mid North, Clare Valley, and including some stations in the northern Adelaide Plains and northern Yorke Peninsula.
The weather stations will provide farmers with highly accurate and localised data about atmospheric stability. This information will allow farmers to avoid spraying pesticides when weather conditions indicate spray drift is likely.
Locations have been identified for 37 of the stations so far, with 14 in the Mid North area, 10 in the Adelaide Plains, nine in the Clare Valley, and four in the northern Yorke Peninsula.
Estimates put the potential loss in production value from spray drift in the Mid North to be around $178 million a year if not addressed. The first four stations are expected to be installed by the middle of this year with the network scheduled to be in place by September 2019. A functional website for growers to access weather data from the stations is anticipated to be operational by July 2019.
The Ag Excellence Alliance was established in 2005 to help increase the viability of South Australian farmers through providing leadership and effective linkages between grower groups and key stakeholders.
Ag Ex Excellence Alliance manages a range of projects that contribute to the sustainability of farm businesses across South Australia. Projects are supported by a diversity of funders and delivered in collaboration with grower groups.
The project will be jointly funded from the State Government’s Economic Sustainability Program and the Regional Development Fund.
Geoff said: “The food most of us put on our tables each night comes from our regions – including the Mid North.
This pilot network of automatic weather stations is a critical investment to ensure our producers will have the necessary data to make informed decisions in managing their properties into the future.”