Yield Prophet tech­nol­ogy as­sists grow­ers with in­put

Australian Farmers & Dealers Journal - - NEWS -

A NAR­ROW win­dow of op­por­tu­nity re­mains for grain grow­ers in the south­ern crop­ping re­gion to em­ploy the use­ful on­line tool Yield Prophet to sup­port their de­ci­sion mak­ing around this year's crop­ping pro­grams and in­puts. Yield Prophet is an in­no­va­tive, worl­drecog­nised sys­tem for mon­i­tor­ing and sim­u­lat­ing crop pad­docks. It was founded through an in­vi­ta­tion from Birchip Crop­ping Group (BCG) to CSIRO to sim­u­late crop­ping sys­tems' field ex­per­i­ments, and launched na­tion­ally off the back of sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the Grains Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (GRDC) in 2004. The mo­ti­va­tion be­hind its de­vel­op­ment was to re­duce farmer un­cer­tainty about the crop man­age­ment en­vi­ron­ment and to en­able grow­ers to as­sess the pos­si­ble ef­fects of al­ter­na­tive man­age­ment prac­tices. Today, the sys­tem is op­er­ated as a web in­ter­face by BCG, gen­er­at­ing crop sim­u­la­tions and re­ports to as­sist hundreds of grow­ers in de­ci­sion mak­ing. Tim McClel­land, Farm Busi­ness An­a­lyst and Yield Prophet® Co­or­di­na­tor at BCG, says the right time to em­ploy Yield Prophet is in the months lead­ing up to sow­ing. “It's use­ful for grow­ers in and out of sea­son, but to gain max­i­mum value, grow­ers should take a soil sam­ple at the start of the year,” Mr McClel­land said. “The soil sam­ple gives the tool a mois­ture and ni­tro­gen start­ing point to base sim­u­la­tions from, then it runs for­ward with in­for­ma­tion from cur­rent sea­son cli­matic con­di­tions, crop man­age­ment and his­toric cli­mate data. The re­sults as­sist grow­ers with de­ci­sion mak­ing on ap­pli­ca­tions of crop in­puts to meet yield po­ten­tial for the com­ing sea­son. “Pre­dict­ing yield po­ten­tial is dif­fi­cult in any one sea­son, and farm­ers of­ten make de­ci­sions on in­tu­ition. While that works the ma­jor­ity of the time, some­times it can be bi­ased by ex­ter­nal fac­tors. Yield Prophet can cor­rect or con­firm in­tu­ition to help farm­ers make the right choices through­out the year. “The abil­ity of Yield Prophet® to pro­vide real time, rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion about grow­ers' crops can help over­come fore­cast­ing chal­lenges in ad­di­tion to in­creas­ing in­vest­ment in re­sponse to a good yield,” Mr McClel­land added. Yield Prophet's sim­u­la­tions pro­vide a frame­work for grow­ers and ad­vis­ers to per­form a range of tasks in­clud­ing man­ag­ing cli­mate and soil wa­ter risks and al­lows them to make in­formed de­ci­sions about ni­tro­gen and ir­ri­ga­tion ap­pli­ca­tions. It is also use­ful for al­low­ing grow­ers to match in­puts with the yield po­ten­tial of their crop and as­sess the ef­fect of changed sow­ing dates or va­ri­eties. More than 2000 grow­ers, con­sul­tants, re­searchers and farm­ing sys­tems groups have sub­scribed to the sys­tem, which op­er­ates as a sim­pli­fied ver­sion of the Agri­cul­tural Pro­duc­tion Sys­tems Sim­u­la­tor (APSIM) de­vel­oped by CSIRO, the State of Queens­land and The Univer­sity of Queens­land. To ben­e­fit grow­ers, GRDC is work­ing along­side BCG and CSIRO to de­velop a project that com­bines the new Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy POAMA sea­sonal fore­cast­ing sys­tem with APSIM. The in­ten­tion of the project is to as­sist grain grow­ers to im­prove their man­age­ment re­sponses to cli­mate vari­abil­ity and achieve a long‐term min­i­mum $10/ hectare ben­e­fit. Yield Prophet de­vel­op­ers plan to launch a Yield Prophet web app and dash­board, pro­vid­ing eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble data on a sin­gle screen to help with quick de­ci­sion mak­ing. To im­prove the model's ac­cu­racy, Yield Prophet will also be in­te­grated with pri­vate weather sta­tions and soil mois­ture probes.

• De­tails: http://www.bcg.org.au/cb_­pages/what_is_yield­_prophet.php

Yield Prophet is use­ful for al­low­ing grow­ers to match in­puts with the yield po­ten­tial of their crop and as­sess the ef­fect of changed sow­ing dates or va­ri­eties.

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