Yield Prophet technology assists growers with input
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.