Agronomist Zoe shares her passion for precision agriculture and technology

June 11, 2024

Packing your bags and moving across the country may be confronting for some, but young agronomist, Zoe Eagger took the challenge head on as she brought her passion for sustainability with her.  

Moving from Western Australia to Mackay as a graduate in 2017, Zoe was drawn over by the Queensland Farmers Federation Agricultural Extension Program. All six trainees in her group were placed along the Great Barrier Reef Catchment to help improve water quality of runoff entering the reef. 

Zoe then took on a role with Farmacist, as a spatial agronomist. Soon after she met her partner Sam, who farms 200 hectares on his family’s 950 hectare farm.

Bringing work home with you

Zoe has been able to carry her work into her personal life. She uses her knowledge of technology and precision agriculture to create practical and tangible solutions for farmers in the Mackay Whitsundays, which is a passion she gets to integrate into Sam’s family farm.  

‘Luckily the family had already accelerated themselves into a lot of sustainable practices, so what I brought in was a lot more on the precision agriculture side, so doing variable rate fertilisers and nitrogen trials.  Anything where we can increase productivity by becoming more sustainable.’ 

Being so close to waterways that feed into the Great Barrier Reef, local farmers know the importance of staying accountable for any harmful runoff and the need for these sustainable practices to mitigate as much of that risk as they can. 

Zoe, Sam and the rest of the family have worked together to trial creative and sustainable practices, that are both good for the surrounding environment and for productivity, by:  

  • electromagnetically mapping their whole farm, which helps Zoe choose where to pick soil samples from.  
  • using satellites to help Zoe and Sam collect data for yield variations. This data helps them match fertiliser rates to the crop yield potential, aiming  to optimise the value of the crop and ensure they aren’t using excessive nutrients. 
  • transforming areas that once suffered from salt impact into viable land, by burying mill mud and ash under the row where sugarcane was planted and doubling their yield from 50 tonnes/hectare to 100 tonnes.  
  • placing sediment traps around the farm to catch sediment runoff after irrigation or rainfall events, and then reusing the water to irrigate.
  • planting legumes, which have a small environmental footprint, can withstand various climates and soil types, and require much less water and fertiliser than other crop types.  

The pair focus on doing the basics right. You could have every new bit of technology and all the new gadgets, but if you’re not putting effort into the fundamentals, then you won’t see productivity either way.  

Find your niche and run with it - navigating through a male-dominated industry

In what is a male-dominated industry, Zoe has been welcomed in with open arms. She encourages other young people to seek similar opportunities.  

‘I think it’s actually a benefit being a young person, especially female in this industry, because I can go out to farms and everyone is so accommodating. I go out there, I don’t know everything about machinery. That’s not how my brain ticks or works but I love to learn from people and find that farmers love teaching.’

Despite not growing up in a farming environment, Zoe has a deep love and respect for the agricultural industry, the innovative steps it’s taking, and what it has to offer.  

‘You don’t have to be from a farm to develop a passion for the industry.There’s a lot of resilient people out here and I love working with people who are all so passionate. Once you find your niche about what you love in life, you can’t get enough of it.


  • Zoe Eagger, a young agronomist from Western Australia, moved to Mackay, Queensland, to join the Queensland Farmers Federation Agricultural Extension Program, focusing on improving water quality in the Great Barrier Reef Catchment.
  • In her role at Farmacist as a spatial agronomist, Zoe applies precision agriculture techniques on her partner Sam's family farm, enhancing sustainable farming practices.
  • Innovative practices introduced include using electromagnetic mapping for soil sampling, employing satellite data for fertiliser application based on yield potential, and transforming salt-impacted land into productive fields.
  • The farm also utilises sediment traps to manage runoff and plants legumes to reduce environmental impact, demonstrating a commitment to sustainable and productive farming near sensitive waterways.
  • Zoe encourages other young, especially female, agronomists to engage with farming communities and pursue their passions in agriculture.