Craige MacKenzie travelled recently to St Louis, MO, to receive the award of Precision Agriculture Farmer of the Year from the U.S.-based PrecisionAg Institute, writes Tim McCready of the New Zealand Herald.
Precision agriculture involves the use of a range of techniques and technology to allow a targeted application of water and nutrients to match the requirements of crops. MacKenzie has applied precision farming practices since 1984 to his family’s own farms, with a focus on maximizing nutrient and irrigation efficiency for improved farm sustainability — both environmental and financial.
In 2010 he founded Agri Optics to provide precision farming tools and services to New Zealand farming systems, with a focus on field sensing and spatial data management solutions. He was also integral in establishing the Precision Agriculture Association of New Zealand (PAANZ), whose mission is to increase the awareness and use of precision ag technologies in land-based primary production systems.
MacKenzie believes that a large contributor to New Zealand’s innovative culture in farming is due to us operating in a uniquely unsubsidised farming system.
This provides our farmers the ability — and a requirement — to adapt to changing situations.
New Zealand’s high value crops and produce require accurate inputs to maintain our international image and market advantage.