The purpose of this portfolio is to archive and make available current norms, standards, and guidelines to members as well as to develop norms, standards, and guidelines that can be used by design engineers working in the field of Agricultural Engineering. This is necessary given the current lack of mentors for young graduate engineers in the workplace as well as to capture the expertise of experienced engineers before they retire.
One of the current Council initiatives under this portfolio is to develop recommendations for the use of modern tile ploughs for the installation of sub-surface drainage pipes; an initiative that is being championed by Prof Neil Lecler.
Government officials are evidently hesitant to authorise the use of a subsidy for drains installed using modern GPS/GNSS technologies and equipment. Officials require the backing of a professional body to update drainage installation recommendations based on a sound and reasoned understanding of the underlying science and technologies. Given what is at stake, i.e. thousands of hectares of land suffering degeneration and yield loss due to a build-up of salinity, we would like to set up a small working group of local and international experts to debate, discuss, reason together and resolve potential issues and understandings/misunderstandings. The ultimate goal would be to come up with and adopt a set of appropriate guidelines/standards to inform the drainage installation process, cognisant of modern technologies and associated opportunities. In essence, the objective is to address any issues/queries/concerns in a well-reasoned and scientifically justified way and then give guidance to practitioners and policy-makers in the best interests of the country.