Professor Andrew Robson

Director of Applied Agricultural Remote Sensing Centre (AARSC) and Theme Leader of Precision Agriculture Research Group (PARG) - Faculty of Science, Agriculture, Business and Law; School of Science and Technology

Andrew Robson

Phone: +61 2 6773 4085

Mobile: +61 417 322 137



From an agricultural science career that extends near 25 years in industry, government, commercial and academia, Professor Andrew Robson has developed a balanced understanding of remote sensing technologies and analytics; the need for appropriate calibration and validation; and a well-demonstrated ability to engage with industry to ensure the research and development adheres to specific needs.

In 2014, Professor Robson joined the University of New England following extended employment with both NSW and QLD Departments of Primary Industries. Prof Robson, with the Applied Agricultural Remote Sensing Centre (AARSC) team, now undertakes applied remote sensing research over a dozen agricultural and horticultural industries.

Career highlights include the development of remote sensing solutions for the sugarcane, peanut and rice industries as well as spatial support for a number of plant biosecurity incursions.

In 2015, Prof Robson brought together a multidisciplinary team in a national project that mapped the extent of all commercial avocado, mango and macadamia orchards across Australia to assist with biosecurity response and natural disaster monitoring. This has since extended to include olive, citrus and banana. The project also developed a collaborative network, whom together evaluated a range of remote sensing and robotic platforms to identify those best suited for improving on farm management.

AARSC aims to bring together three key areas;

1. industry need

2. research and development and,

3. commercialization;

to more efficiently deliver practical and well validated solutions into the hands of industry and growers. AARSC actively seeks collaboration with expertise across the three key areas in order to achieve these outcomes.


AssocDipEnvSc CIT, BSc CSU, PhD UQ, FRSN


  • 2016: ‘Poggendorff Lecture Award’ Royal Society of New South Wales for contribution to Agriculture, in particular remote sensing.
  • 2016: Presidents medal for best research paper presented at the 2016 annual ‘Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists’ conference. Mackay, Qld.
  • 2014: Presidents medal for best research paper presented at the 2014 annual ‘Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists’ conference. Gold Coast, Qld.
  • 2005 (July): First Place Winner of the RSI ENVI Challenge (International competition for the best application using ENVI Remote Sensing software).

Primary Research Area/s

Agriculture Remote sensing; Spatial analysis; Plant biosecurity

Research Interests

Project Grants:

  • Remote Sensing for Biosecurity Surveillance in Urban and Peri‐ Urban Environments
  • Remote sensing for Peanut (2019). Funded by the Peanut Company of Australia.
  • Pilot study evaluating remote sensing for Western Australia citrus. Funded by WA Citrus. (2019)
  • Project Developer, leader and Researcher ‘AV18002 - Implementing precision agriculture solutions in Australian avocado production systems’. Funded by Horticulture Innovation Ltd ($950K). (June 2019- Feb 2022).
  • Co- Project Developer and Researcher ‘PRJ-011058- Improving mid-season nitrogen management of rice’ (Project led by NSW DPI). Funded by Agrifutures. (Nov 2018- April 2021).
  • Project Collaborator and Researcher (Project led by QDAF) on the Horticulture Innovation Ltd project ‘VG16009 Adoption of precision systems technology in vegetable production’. (2016- 2019) ($4.7 Million).
  • Co- Project Developer and Researcher (Project led by QDAF) on the ‘2016/17 Agri-Science Queensland Innovation Opportunity’ funded project titled ‘Identifying the presence of pineapple pests & diseases through remote sensing’. (Feb 2017- June 2017) ($15,000).
  • Project Developer, Leader and Principal Researcher on the Rural Research and Development for Profit Project (co- funded by Horticulture innovation Australia) titled ‘Multi-scale Monitoring Tools for Managing Australian Tree Crops - Industry Meets Innovation’. (2015- 2018) ($7.5 Million).

    Project collaborators include University of New England, University of Queensland, Central Queensland University, University of Sydney, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland, Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation, AGTRIX, Avocados Australia Ltd, Australian Macadamia Society, Australian Mango industry Association Ltd and Simpson Farms.
  • Principal Researcher on the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRC-SI) funded project titled ‘Precision Grazing Management- Real Time Biomass Estimation in Pastures’ (2014- 2017). ($1.4 million over 4 years). (My involvement 2014- 2015)
  • Sugar Research Australia (SRA) formerly Sugar Research Development Corporation (SRDC) funded projects:
    • Co-Project Developer, Leader and Principal Researcher. Project titled ‘Sugar from space: improved data access, yield forecasting and targeted nitrogen application for the Australian Sugar industry.’ (2016- 2020). ($1.3 million over 3.5 years). Project collaboration with Farmacist.
    • Project co- researcher. Project led by Sugar Research Australia) and titled ‘Licence to Farm: Nitrogen use efficient varieties to meet the future environmental targets’. (2016- 2019) ($1.3 million over 3 years).
    • Project Developer, Leader and Principal Researcher Project titled ‘Evaluating the efficacy of remote sensing for identifying Yellow Canopy Syndrome in sugarcane’ (2013- 2014). ($40,000 6 months).
    • Project Developer, Leader and Principal Researcher Developing. Project titled ‘Remote sensing as an industry wide yield forecasting, nitrogen mapping and research aid.’ (2013- 2016). ($1.1 million over 3 years).
    • Project Developer and Leader. Project titled ‘Remote sensing to implement an effective pest management strategy for cane grubs’. (2011- 2015). ($1.1 million over 4 years)
    • Project Developer, Leader and Principal Researcher. Project titled ‘Remote Sensing- based Precision Agriculture Tools for the Sugar Industry. (2009- 2012). ($1 million over 3 years).
  • Project Developer, Leader and Principal Researcher of Remote sensing component of Horticulture Australia Ltd (HAL) Avocado Projects AV11015 and AV12012: To assess the effectiveness of using remote sensing technologies to predominately collect tree number and tree health information. (2013- 2014). ($22K over 2 years).
  • Project Developer, Leader and Principal Researcher. Cotton Catchment Communities Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) (Queensland component) funded project titled 'In- crop spatial variability assessment and management'. (2007- 2010). ($1.1 million over 3 years).
  • Principal Researcher of Remote sensing component of Australian Centre of International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) Peanut project (Papua New Guinea). (2004- 2009).
  • Project Developer, Leader and Principal Researcher. South Burnett regional council project: 'Using high resolution satellite imagery for the detection of Privet- Ligustrum lucidum. (2009).
  • Remote Sensing applications for the determination of Yield, Maturity and Aflatoxin contamination within Peanut. PhD. (2002- 2007).
  • Project Researcher of Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) funded SIP09 Precision Agriculture Initiative project: ‘Eye in the sky to revolutionise Australia's northern crop production’. (2003- 2006).

Research Supervision Experience

PhD Co-Supervisior:

  • Integrating LiDAR and Multispectral data for Monitoring Mangos, Avocados and Macadamias (Sabrina Dan Wu (University of Queensland)
  • Investigating the relationship between the spatial variability of individual tree vigour across an orchard block, as identified by very high resolution satellite imagery, to pollination efficacy and diversity of pollinator species (Bryony Wilcox).
  • Remote sensing for the non-invasive detection of Panama Disease (Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Cubense (Foc)) in banana crops (Aaron Aeberli).
  • Pre-symptomatic detection of Phytophthora root rot in Avocado for automated surveillance (Surantha Salgadoe).
  • The Provision of Crop Pollination Ecosystem Services by Wild Insects (Liam Kendall).


Selected Recent Publications

  • Dan Wu, Stuart Phinn, Kasper Johansen, Andrew Robson, Jasmine Muir, Christopher Searle (2018). Estimating Changes in Leaf Area, Leaf Area Density and Vertical Leaf  Area Profile for Mango, Avocado and Macadamia Tree Crowns Using Terrestrial  Laser Scanning. Remote sensing.
  • N. T. Anderson, J. P. Underwood, M.M. Rahman, A. Robson, K. B. Walsh (2018). Estimation of fruit load in mango orchards – tree sampling considerations and use of machine vision and satellite imagery. Precision Agriculture.
  • Yu-Hsuan Tu, Stuart Phinn, Kasper Johansen and Andrew Robson (2018). Assessing radiometric correction approaches for UAS multi-spectral imagery for horticultural applications. Remote sensing.
  • Salgadoe, A.S.A., Robson, A.J., Lamb D.W., Dann, E.K. and Searle, C. (2018). Quantifying the Severity of Phytophthora Root Rot Disease in Avocado Trees Using Image Analysis.Remote Sensing.10(2), 226; doi:10.3390/rs10020226
  • Bramley, R.G.V., Webster, A.J., and Robson, A.J. (2018). Precision agriculture and sugarcane production- a case study from the Burdekin region of Australia. Book Chapter from: Rott, P. (ed.), Achieving sustainable cultivation of sugarcane Volume 1: Cultivation techniques, quality and sustainability, 2018, Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing, Cambridge, UK. DOI: 10.19103/AS.2017.0035.15

  • Johansen, K., Sallam, N., Robson, A., Samson, P., Chandler, K., Derby, L., Eaton, A., Jennings, J. (2017). Using GeoEye-1 Imagery for Multi-Temporal Object-Based Detection of Canegrub Damage in Sugarcane Fields in Queensland, Australia. GIS & Remote Sensing. DOI: 10.1080/15481603.2017.1417691.
  • Robson, Andrew; Rahman, Muhammad & Muir, Jasmine. (2017). Using Worldview Satellite Imagery to Map Yield in Avocado (Persea americana): A Case Study in Bundaberg, Australia. Remote Sensing. 9 (12). 1223. DOI: 10.3390/rs9121223.
  • Rahman, Muhammad & Muir, Jasmine & Robson, Andrew. (2017). Multi-temporal Landsat algorithms for the yield prediction of sugarcane crops in Australia. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.891091.
  • A. Robson, M. M. Rahman, J. Muir, A. Saint, C. Simpson and C. Searle (2017). Evaluating satellite remote sensing as a method for measuring yield variability in Avocado and Macadamia tree crops. Advances in Animal Biosciences: Precision Agriculture (ECPA) 2017, 8:2, pp498-504. DOI: 10.1017/S2040470017000954
  • Muhammad Moshiur Rahman and Andrew Robson (2016). A novel approach for sugarcane yield prediction using Landsat time series imagery: A case study on Bundaberg region. Advances in Remote Sensing.  DOI: 10.4236/ars.2016.52008.
  • Robson A, Rahman MM, Falzon G, Verma NK, Johansen K, Robinson N, Lakshmanan P, Salter B and Skocaj D (2016). Evaluating remote sensing technologies for improved yield forecasting and for the measurement of foliar nitrogen concentration in sugarcane. Proceedings of the Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists (38). From: ASSCT 2016: 38th Annual Conference of the Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists, 27-29 April 2016, Mackay, QLD, Australia.
  • Dehaan, R., Dunn, B.W., Dunn, T., Hume, I., Orchard, B., and Robson, A. (2015). Using remote sensing to predict PI nitrogen uptake in Rice. Technical Report, NSW DPI Southern NSW Research Results 2015. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.2482.6483
  • Everingham Y, Sexton J, and Robson A (2015). A statistical approach for identifying important climatic influences on sugarcane yields. Proceedings of the Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists (37), pp. 8-15. From: ASSCT 2015: 37th Annual Conference of the Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists, 28-30 April 2015, Bundaberg, QLD, Australia.
  • Robson, A.J., Petty, J., Joyce, D.C., Marques, J.R., and Hofman, P.J. (2014).High resolution remote sensing, GIS and Google Earth for avocado fruit quality mapping and tree number auditing. Proceedings of the 29th International Horticultural Congress 2014. Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1130.88
  • Daniel Rodriguez, Andrew J. Robson and Robert Belford (2009). Dynamic and Functional monitoring technologies for applications in crop management. In Crop Physiology- Applications for genetic improvement and agronomy. eds. Victor Sadras and Daniel Calderini. Elsevier Inc. USA.
  • A.J. Robson, Remote sensing applications for the determination of yield, maturity and aflatoxin contamination in Peanut. Ph.D. Thesis, the University of Queensland (2007).
  • Robson, A., Phinn, S., and Wright, G. (2006) Using field Spectroscopy and QuickBird Imagery for the assessment of Peanut crop maturity and aflatoxin risk. Journal of Spatial Science, 51(2).
  • Graeme Wright, Andrew Robson and Rao CN Rachaputi (2006). Remote sensing applications for peanuts in Australia and Papua New Guinea. In  “Improving Yield and economic viability of peanut production in Papua New Guinea and Australia:” Eds Rachaputi Rao C.N. Wright, G.C. Kuniata, L and Ramakrishna, A. ACIAR Proceedings No 122, 124p
  • Robson, A., Wright, G., and Phinn, S. (2004).Assessment of peanut crop maturity and yield forecasting with QuickBird multispectral satellite imagery. Spatial Science Queensland, 4, Aug 2004:35- 37.
  • Robson, A.J., Williams, R.L. and Farrell, T.C. (2001) Unique root mass in Australia’s rice. Proceedings of the Australian Agronomy Conference. Hobart Australia.


Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales

Consultancy Interests

Director of AGSCENE Pty Ltd.  This is a small part time consultancy that develops discrete remote sensing applications for a range of agricultural industries.