Elders agronomists Darren Pech, Peter Watt

US study tour for Elders agronomists

Elders has provided two of its leading agronomists with the opportunity to further their crop nutrition knowledge on an international study tour.

Darren Pech from Elders Jamestown and Peter Watt from Elders Cowra travelled to the United States for the International Fertilizer Development Corporation (IFDC) study tour in August.

They were joined by Incitec Pivot Fertilisers’ broadacre agronomist, Jim Laycock.

The IFDC study tour put the spotlight on technology advances in agricultural production, water and nutrient management.

Graham Page, National Technical Services Manager for Elders, said the study tour could become an annual reward for selected Elders agronomists who were focused on growing the fertiliser business and enhancing their professional skills.

“This year’s program was selected to give our agronomists a competitive edge by learning more about the latest trends in precision nutrition, remote sensing technologies, advances in water management and a range of other potential productivity advances,” Mr Page said.

“While we know Darren and Peter will be keen to share their insights with their colleagues and clients when they return, we also hope to provide this opportunity to more of our agronomists over time.”

The trio spent eight and a half days seeing innovative nutrient management and irrigation technologies used on farm and one and a half days in the classroom.

They journeyed from Alabama to Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Tennessee and finished their trip in Washington D.C.

As part of the study tour, they looked at the trends and challenges facing agriculture globally and how farmers, agribusinesses and policymakers are adjusting.

“These days, it’s not just about the intensification of agriculture with high yields – they are looking at ways to sustain high levels of production,” Mr Page explained.

A highlight of the tour was a visit to the largest outdoor farm show in the US, the Farm Progress Show, which featured an extensive array of state-of-the-art farming equipment and technology.

Mr Pech said study tours were an excellent way to investigate the latest developments in agriculture.

“I think it’s important for everyone in the industry to keep exploring new ideas and keep learning,” he said.

“This was a great opportunity for us to look at innovations in fertilisers and nutrition and see if any of those can be adopted here.”

Mr Watt added that he was grateful for the chance to put a global context on technology advances in nutrition. Many of his customers already use precision agriculture techniques such as variable rate technology for fertiliser application.

“It’s been a great opportunity for us personally, but we’ve also been sent on behalf of the wider Elders agronomy network,” he said.

“The insights we bring back will be used across our whole agronomy team.”