By Sebastian Costelloe
BCG recently played host to 15 first year Masters students and staff from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at the University of Melbourne. The group, studying Engineering Management, travelled to Birchip on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 April as part of the AgTIDE Education and Training project. They were joined by two Masters students from the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences who took the opportunity to see working farmers in action.
Ian McClelland (Jil Jil) and Ian Taylor (Lubeck) hosted the tour over Friday and Saturday, where the students experienced sowing, observed farm machinery in action and heard expert accounts of the realities and practicalities of farming in the Wimmera and Southern Mallee.
Over the coming weeks, the students will undertake a series of structured telephone interviews with more than 30 local farmers to help BCG to map critical decision points throughout the growing season and identify potential decision support tools that could be developed to support farmer decision making.
BCG is also hosting a second year Masters of Engineering student from the University of Melbourne, Sebastian (Seb) Costelloe. Seb elected to complete his internship with BCG investigating a range of topics, including farmer decision making and the potential for autonomous vehicles (farm robots) in the grains industry.
As part of his project, Seb has prepared a preliminary list of decision points. He would greatly appreciate any farmers who are willing to share their experience and fill the survey out https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PR27TVD.
The AgTIDE and Education project, funded by the Victorian Government is now in its second year and has delivered non-accredited precision agriculture training to more than 80 farmers across the Wimmera Southern Mallee. A training program for agronomists is in development and will be delivered during the second half of 2021.