NZSTI Training Manager Lindsay Roberston (left) with Megan Cushnahan (right) receiving her scholarship.

The New Zealand Sports Turf Institute recently awarded a $3,000 scholarship to Megan Cushnahan to contribute towards her studies in Precision Agriculture.

Megan is currently a post graduate student at Massey University and is also a past staff member of NZSTI. Megan’s time at NZSTI as an agronomist saw her working in Europe, Asia and the Pacific before becoming our Business Development Manager. Megan is now close to completing her PhD which is titled Transforming scientific research and development in precision agriculture: the case of hyperspectral sensing and imaging.

Precision agriculture is about providing more accurate and efficient farming practices through the use of technology including GPS, remote sensing technology, and computer-based applications. Those same technologies equally apply in the sports turf industry, especially soil water management and the application of agrichemicals and fertilisers.

One example is using NDVI sensors to detect soil moisture and using these readings to apply irrigation more effectively to the turf area as a whole by taking into account the differing moisture needs of certain areas. This helps promote turf uniformity and saves turf from being either under or over-irrigated.

Another precision technology that is commonly used on farms and also translates well to sports turf the use of GPS to enable systems to track and record the amount and location of fertiliser or agrichemical applications. Some systems have the ability to individually control applicators – this is useful when operating close to property boundaries.


For some more information on Precision Agriculture and how it is useful to the Sports Turf Industry – some of our recent articles on the subject include:

  • The Revolution is Gaining Momentum written by Andrew Mitchell – TMJ Autumn 2018
  • Precision Management Depends on Accurate Information written by David Ormsby – TMJ Spring 2017

Available via our website to members or a subscription to the to Turf Management Journal.