The Calibrated Milk Truck
How do farmers really use MEA gear?
This humbling tale from the bush taught us that we actually haven’t got a clue…
One of our friendly CSIRO scientists was on-farm interviewing a dairy farmer about the soil moisture technology he was using – a solitary GDot that the irrigator moved from centre-pivot to centre-pivot along with the pastured cows.
Asked by the scientist ‘How do you learn from this gadget?’ the farmer explained that he had calibrated the GDot output against the milk truck that carried off his haul of cow’s milk every day.
If he kept the field wet enough so that the GDot display never dropped below four yellow dots he was far more profitable than if he let the pastures dry out to three dots. At three yellow dots (a low soil moisture level) the quality and value of the feed for the cows fell, alongside his profitability.
In so doing, this farmer has inadvertently developed a new metric for the dairy industry: “Gallons-per-dot”
Dr. Andrew Skinner
on 07 August 2014