Thursday 27 October 2016

Introducing: ANGUS KNOX

Continuing on with our series introducing the contributors to the H2Grow blog - today we'd like to let you get to know Angus Knox, Precision Ag Technician (Field Services) with Agri Optics New Zealand.

While Angus may not have grown up wearing Red Bands and riding shotgun in the farm ute his fresh perspective, smarts and injection of enthusiasm are what our industry needs to continue to thrive and grow into the future.


Six months ago I had perhaps slightly more knowledge of agriculture in general than your average city boy. But I had no idea of what Precision Agriculture was, or how it was being used to change the landscape of Agriculture in New Zealand.

Originally from Dunedin, I moved to Christchurch in 2012 with the intention of studying engineering (after a year of studying law and commerce at Otago University). I eventually found my niche and completed a BSc majoring in Geology and Geography with an endorsement in Environmental Science in 2015.

After a few months working as a GIS Analyst in Wellington, I began to get cabin fever and moved back to Canterbury to find something that would provide a balance between field and office work. Enter Agri Optics. Prior to starting at Agri Optics I had been exposed to some of the technology and sensors we use during my studies but the application to agriculture was entirely new to me.

I admit, I was pretty apprehensive about the steep learning curve I faced to educate myself about how these solutions could actually be used to benefit farmers in the real world. The thing that has struck me the most since coming on board, has been everybody’s willingness to share their knowledge. From the whole team here at Agri Optics to client farmers, I’ve had no shortage of expertise to draw on.

As a newcomer to the industry, it is clear to see that there is no future of agriculture in New Zealand without Precision Ag becoming widely adopted across all kinds of farming operations. The combination of Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI),  soil moisture probes and EM soil surveys have the potential to drastically reduce water wastage and potential nutrient leaching by making sure the right amount of water goes where it’s needed and doesn’t get put where it’s not.

Precision nutrient management and variable rate nutrient application is another tool that has impressed me. Anything that can help maximise yields while simultaneously reducing unnecessary use of additives and chemicals has to be a good thing.

As essentially an agricultural layman, it seems that the sooner we all get on board with adopting this technology, the sooner it will pay for itself. I have thoroughly enjoyed the last five months learning about our country’s largest and most challenging industry. I can only imagine where Precision Ag will take us in the years to come!

Angus Knox - Precision Ag Technician (Field Services), Agri Optics NZ