AgByte: Leighton Wilksch.
A range of monitoring technologies are available, but the value of the information generated is not yet understood.
Providing farming systems groups and growers access to real-time weather and crop data at monitoring sites in Riverton, Bute, Hart and Booleroo Centre.
The objectives of this project were to:
In the field
Three monitoring sites were set up at Riverton, Bute and Hart in conjunction with the Mid North High Rainfall Zone (MNHRZ), Northern Sustainable Soils (NSS) and Hart Field Site groups, with an additional site added later for UNFS.
The sites monitored weather and crop information to help with decision making, including Fire Danger Index information to assist with harvesting decisions, soil moisture monitoring, canopy temperature, rainfall tallies, leaf wetness, wind speed and direction, NDVI information and insect trap monitoring.
The information from each site was made available online, with website hits for each site reaching more than 300 a day on high fire risk days during harvest.
Anecdotal evidence indicated the data of most value to growers included:
The Fire Danger Index for decision making at harvest time has increased in use across the state, with an increase in the number of website hits from the grower group networks involved in this project on high fire risk days, which included both growers and community members.
Value for growers
The sites provided growers and agronomists with access to real-time weather and crop data.
There was excellent engagement with farming systems groups, with positive feedback about the value and usability of outputs.
There has been positive practice change for harvesting decisions, due to many users having access to the same Fire Danger Index information at the same time.