Phone app gives grow­ers con­text

Gatton Star - - INTO RURAL - Ali Kuchel Ali.kuchel@gat­ton­

GRAIN grow­ers and lucerne pro­duc­ers will have the abil­ity to es­ti­mate crop yields, thanks to a new smart­phone app.

CSIRO’S Grain­cast al­lows grow­ers to fore­cast grain yield with the touch of a but­ton by util­is­ing a range of in­puts, ge­o­graph­i­cal data and satel­lites.

To get a yield es­ti­mate, grow­ers are re­quired to in­put three pieces of in­for­ma­tion – the pad­dock they want an­a­lysed, the crop grown last sea­son and the crop they plan to grow in the present sea­son.

It is the only app that gives in­stan­ta­neous soil, water and yield in­for­ma­tion at any time, draw­ing on ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion from satel­lites, cli­mate fore­cast and sen­sors.

In­for­ma­tion is drawn from the Sil and Land­scape Grid of Aus­tralia, APSIM (the agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion sys­tems sim­u­la­tor) crop model, MODIS and LANDSAT satel­lites.

The app was de­vel­oped by CSIRO sci­en­tists in re­sponse to feed­back from grain grow­ers about what they needed and what they liked about their job.

CSIRO sci­en­tist Roger Lawes said the app would al­low grow­ers to make bet­ter in­formed crop and pad­dock man­age­ment de­ci­sions in near-real time.

“Farm­ers didn’t want to be told what to do, farm­ers just wanted the key in­for­ma­tion so they could de­cide what was best for them,”

Dr Lawes said.

“They wanted some­thing that was mo­bile, quick and easy to use.”

The app al­lows var­i­ous in­dus­try play­ers such as ad­vis­ers, bulk han­dlers, mar­keters, com­mod­ity fore­cast­ers and in­sur­ers to fore­cast grain pro­duc­tion at re­gional and na­tional scales. ■ Grain­cast is free to use and can be ob­tained by email to grain­

Farm­ers just wanted the key in­for­ma­tion so they could de­cide what was best for them.

— Roger Lawes


FU­TURE PLAN­NING: The CSIRO’S Grain­cast app will al­low farm­ers to pre­dict yields.

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