New app to help forecast grain yields

CSIRO app: Graincast draws on information from satellites, climate forecasts and sensors to estimate historical crop yields, yield potential and crop species.

CSIRO app: Graincast draws on information from satellites, climate forecasts and sensors to estimate historical crop yields, yield potential and crop species.

A new offering from CSIRO promises grain growers a forecast for grain yield at the touch of a button, via a new smart phone app.

Dubbed “Graincast”, it allows growers to estimate yields ranging from a single paddock, right up to their entire farm.

CSIRO scientist Roger Lawes said growers needed to input just three pieces of information – the paddock they want analysed, the crop grown last season and the crop they plan to grow or are growing in the current season.

It was the only app that offered instantaneous soil, water and yield information at any time without the need for substantial user input.

“It means growers can make better informed crop and paddock management decisions – in near real-time – like never before,” Dr Lawes said.

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“They told us that they wanted something that was mobile, quick and easy to use. They didn't want to be told what to do, they just wanted the key information so they could decide what was best for them. So that's what we built.”

Graincast draws on information from satellites, climate forecasts and sensors to estimate historical crop yields, yield potential and crop species.

Crop models are combined with soil maps to create yield forecasts for the Australian continent. This information comes from the Soil and Landscape Grid of Australia, APSIM (the agricultural production systems simulator) crop model, MODIS and LANDSAT satellites as well as other sources.

The data is brought together in CSIRO’s newly constructed data platform and output to a smart phone for agricultural businesses to quickly acquire information about production without the hassle of identifying soil types, calibrating models, searching for satellite information or trying to interpret complex data.

The app is free and available by emailing graincast@csiro.au.

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