Ravensdown has launched HawkEye Response, a software tool to help farmers map and deal with slips that have impacted farm effective areas, compromised paddocks, or taken out fences. Users can also identify erosion-prone areas to prepare for future weather events.
The new tool combines pre and post Cyclone Gabrielle satellite data with fixed wing aerial imagery and brings it into Ravensdown’s existing HawkEye software.
Response is being offered to cyclone impacted customers free of charge. Any farmer, including non-Ravensdown customers who are not already mapped in HawkEye, can access HawkEye Response if they become a customer for the existing HawkEye software.
Once in HawkEye, the images of slips and washouts are cross-referenced against existing fence line data to give farmers an up-to-date spatial view of weather damage on their property.
Garry Diack, Ravensdown Chief Executive Officer, says the tool will help farmers identify immediate hazards and other areas of concern so they can direct resources to those areas.
“Many farmers in Hawke’s Bay and East Coast still can’t easily access parts of their farm, so it can be incredibly difficult for them to get a representative view of what needs to be fixed first.
“HawkEye Response enables farmers to get that full picture of their farm and prioritise remedial work according to the severity of damage and necessity for farm operations.”
Farmers can identify each paddock’s new effective area and test new methods of farm and stock management virtually before committing to any changes. The software’s analysis and editing abilities can also help with the set-up of exclusion zones so that slips can be retargeted for re-seeding and erosion-prone areas cordoned off from future re-seeding or stock grazing.
Diack says the software is designed to be an enduring part of the farmer toolkit and will be enhanced and improved as it develops.
“The aerial imagery gives farmers better ability to spot potential hazards for future weather events, such as badly placed culverts or infrastructure close to waterways.
“As the latest aerial mapping and satellite imagery comes through, HawkEye Response will be updated so farmers always have a close to real-time picture of their land from above and can respond to any issues,” says Diack.
“Data from the software can also provide information to help cyclone-hit farmers with insurance claims.”
The company list the benefits of HawkEye Response as including: Offering a view of pre and post Cyclone Gabrielle imagery, overlaying farms’ fence lines, identifying new slips and calculating their area, for each paddock, producing the new effective area, ability to ringfence areas to be evaluated for future land use and downloading data for use in spreadsheets.
Ravensdown Group Communications Manager Hilary Marret says HawkEye has been around for about five years now. It has over 7,100 users who manage over 10,000 farms, and over 1.1m paddocks have been mapped.
The software encompasses data recording, visualisation and comparison tools and when integrated with Ravensdown Joint Venture spreaders TracMap and Aerowork, allows proof of placement data to be captured.
With the agricultural sector striving to reduce nutrient leaching and nitrous oxide emissions, and farmers also keen to cut input costs, putting fertiliser only where it’s needed, and in the amounts required for crop and grass uptake, is in everyone’s interest.
GIS a vital tool for Federated Farmers too
GIS-based technologies are playing an increasingly valuable role for farmers and growers for optimising production and looking after the environment, Federated Famers GIS Analyst and Policy Co-ordinator Siobhan Wakeling says.
A GIS (geographic information system) creates, manages, analyzes and maps all types of data. “It’s a really exciting area that has been seeing a lot of growth recently, with so many new applications for how it can be used on farms,” Siobhan says.
“Web and mobile maps, such as Ravensdowns’ HawkEye software and plenty of other examples too, gives power to farmers and puts their data right in their hand. Farm scale mapping can be used in planning irrigation, nutrient reporting, identifying farm hazards, or even looking at areas of the farm that are prone to erosion. Farmers can decide if it is time to retire those paddocks or look at whether we need to try and mitigate by planting for soil conservation.”
Siobhan saysNew Zealand is really lucky in that we have a lot of spatial information that is available to the public, and it is always improving. Aerial imagery of a 20cm resolution has been captured for areas of Gisborne that were affected by Cyclone Gabrielle, and is being used by Federated Farmers and other groups to identify where support and resources are needed during recovery.
“By the end of 2024, most of the country will have their elevation mapped to a 1m resolution (currently at 8m), which will open so many doors for how we can use this information to improve farm management.
“Imagine being able to see a detailed view of your whole farm, in 3D, from waist height.”
For Federated Farmers, GIS is a vital tool for engaging with farmers.
Some issues can be widespread or highly localised. “Feds can identify spatial patterns to understand how issues affect our members. The results that we collect from our mapping provide an accurate view of what is happening on the ground, and on-farm, giving meaning to our advocacy and showing members and decision makers the implications of proposed regulation.”