User-friendly De­ci­pher find­ing favour

Countryman - - MACHINERY AND TECHNOLOGY - Ann Rawl­ings

Wes­farm­ers start-up De­ci­pher has been gain­ing ground in the WA broad­acre sec­tor, pro­pelled by its af­fil­i­a­tion with the con­glom­er­ate’s fer­tiliser arm CSBP.

De­ci­pher, mar­keted as a user-friendly dig­i­tal map­ping and data stor­age ser­vice for farm­ers, pro­vides in­for­ma­tion on pad­dock vari­abil­ity as well as crop-growth per­for­mance and trends.

Its pro­po­nents claim the beauty of the ser­vice lies in its abil­ity to har­nesses the power of Google Earth En­gine.

“We’ve op­ti­mised De­ci­pher to de­liver an end-to-end ser­vice with a wealth of in­sights that helps farm­ers to make de­tailed and very spe­cific farm-man­age­ment de­ci­sions,” De­ci­pher chief ex­ec­u­tive An­thony Walker said.

“Us­ing satel­lite im­agery com­bined with sam­ple and farm data, you can eas­ily view the high and low-per­form­ing crop ar­eas, and com­pare per­for­mance across months, sea­sons and years. Hav­ing this data gives farm­ers the power to make in­formed de­ci­sions re­lat­ing to crop nu­tri­tion and pad­dock man­age­ment.”

The web app can be ac­cessed via a tablet or mo­bile phone, while its com­pan­ion app, De­ci­pherGO, can be used for in­pad­dock ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing sam­ple col­lec­tion of soil.

Take-up of the ser­vice in WA has mainly come in the form of CSBP-af­fil­i­ated cus­tomers, with re­port­edly 24 per cent of the State’s farms us­ing the ser­vice in one form or an­other.

Its ba­sic plat­form is avail­able free on a trial ba­sis, while its more in-depth ser­vices — launched in April — are sold on a sub­scrip­tion ba­sis.

While most of De­ci­pher’s clien­tele are in Aus­tralia, the start-up’s busi­ness plan is to build its pro­file on the global stage. It claims its am­bi­tions for take-up in Aus­tralia is in line with growth pro­jec­tions.

“Ex­perts pre­dict that in the next 30 years we will need to pro­duce around 70 per cent more food to feed the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion and the use of in­tel­li­gent plat­forms such as De­ci­pher will drive ef­fi­cien­cies in op­ti­mis­ing in­puts and in­creas­ing yield,” Mr Walker said.

Mr Walker said one fea­ture that had proved to be pop­u­lar with farm­ers had been the abil­ity to track crop per­for­mance dur­ing the grow­ing year via satel­lite im­agery.

“The earth ob­ser­va­tions can be viewed sea­son­ally or monthly, and can be com­pared across the whole farm, se­lected pad­docks or even down to se­lected points within pad­docks,” he said.

Mr Walker said agron­o­mists had also been us­ing De­ci­pher to mon­i­tor pests within crops, while on-farm use had also ex­tended to mon­i­tor­ing the per­for­mance of tri­als on deep rip­ping and ni­tro­gen.

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