Australian Farmer Receives PrecisionAg Award of Excellence

David Cox (right), Davco Farming
David Cox (right), Davco Farming

David Cox, the majority owner of Davco Farming, an integrated sugarcane farming operation adjacent to the Burdekin River 24 kilometers west of Ayr, North Queensland, Australia, has been named 2012 Farmer of the Year.

According to nominator Graeme Cox, Davco Farming is an internationally recognized leader in state of the art mechanized sugarcane production. Statistics on his operation include 2,450 hectares cultivated and fully irrigated by furrow and 250,000 tons of production at 15% sucrose.

Aside from sheer size and productivity, another reason the global sugarcane industry looks favorably upon Cox and his operation is that they have been at the forefront of implementing the following precision agriculture practices over the past 30-plus years:

  • Laser land forming (1979).
  • Sugar Cane Yield Mapping (1996).
  • Sugar Cane Control traffic farming system (1997).
  • 2 cm GPS machinery guidance (1998).
  • GPS Weed mapping & Variable rate application of soil conditioners (2001).
  • Optimum Surface (GPS) Landforming (2007).

Most of these precision agriculture applications were firsts in the world of sugar cane production, and have allowed Cox to minimize chemical use, reduce field cultivation, minimize erosion and minimize water use.

“David is a constant innovator who loves to continually improve the sugar cane farming system and push the limits of technology,” says Graeme Cox. “He sees advantages of technologies years before almost anyone else in the industry. He saw the need for all the applications mentioned in the previous section when others were wondering what he was on about.”

Cox’s latest innovation, Optimum Surface (GPS) Landforming (, is reportedly the next generation in landforming beyond laser landforming, and Cox conceived of the technology way back in the late 1990s. According to his website, Optimum Surface Landforming is software that calculates the optimized field topography that satisfies water management goals whilst minimizing earthworks and without ditches. Currently, Trimble is working with Cox to make the vision a reality, and there are those that feel the technology has the potential to revolutionize surface drainage systems across all industries.

On top of that, Cox has also demonstrated leadership and professionalism with all ag industry participants, from ag educators to fellow growers themselves. He openly invites and gives tours on his own farm to sugar cane producers from all over the world, and busloads of visitors regularly come to see what many consider the most advanced sugar cane farming system in the world. John Deere Co. even requests his advice on future sugar cane farming technologies.

“David has clearly had the largest impact of any individual to the advancement of precision agriculture in sugar cane and possibly the largest impact any individual has had on any one industry in terms of precision agriculture,” says Graeme Cox. “His achievements speak for themselves.’

For more information on our 2012 Farmer of the Year David Cox, visit his website at

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