Agri-intelligence in cotton production systems

Project overview

Over the next ten years we expect agriculture to transition even further into the digital age realising the tremendous potential to understand better the opportunities and risks arising from data across the value chain with integrated and sustainable management operations. Agri-intelligence in cotton production systems seeks to take the first steps leading to the integration of deep agricultural knowledge, knowledge across the value chain and systems science with powerful digital technologies to help farming enterprises make the best use of agronomic, environmental and economic data to enhance decision-making and management practices leading to more efficient, profitable and sustainable operations.

The management strategies used across the cotton season can be disaggregated into sequences of decisions. What makes these decisions difficult is the uncertainty in attributes that are not controlled by the decision maker (for example, growers and farm managers) and have a bearing on the outcome of the decision. Uncertainty can be mitigated through the use of information extracted from purposefully collected data. Here is where the key opportunity for agri-intelligence lays.

The research in this project seeks to:

  1. map the decision space in cotton farming systems (decisions, types of decisions, uncertainty, and impact of outcomes)
  2. identify information assets relevant to decision processes, and determine information and utilisation gaps
  3. identify information flows from the value chain that can enhance on-farm decision-making
  4. identify high-risk on-farm decisions and pathways to risk reduction
  5. develop recommendations for on-farm and value chain data analytics and optimisation strategies for deployable agri-intelligence solutions.

These outcomes will provide key information for Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) to focus future research and development (R&D) investment in the area of agri-intelligence as well as providing a framework to develop such investment.

Real-world impacts

This project on agri-intelligence will provide a unifying platform for the CRDC 2013-2018 Strategic R&D Plan and underpin a portfolio of research investment focusing on on-going innovations that will transform the industry to ensure it is profitable, sustainable and competitive over the next 20 years and beyond. This project will contribute to a plan for directing research aimed at reducing uncertainty in decision-making in response to changes in the value chain and the environment that have major impacts on farm profitability.

In particular, we seek to:

  • capture increased potential value through the integration of “data to information” interactions between the farming enterprise and the value chain
  • ensure the Australian cotton industry is at the forefront of innovation in R&D with respect to the global digital economy and global market competitiveness
  • provide a critical linkage point for grower, agronomist and researcher networks for sustainable futures in the cotton industry.