eConnected Grainbelt

Technology is an integral component to ensuring our State’s agricultural sector remains internationally competitive. The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s eConnected Grainbelt project, funded through Royalties for Regions, is working to connect information across the grains industry to enable growers to make more profitable decisions tailored to their farm business.

This will be achieved through:

  • Increasing the awareness, understanding and use of information based decision making tools by grain growers and their consultants.
  • Improving decision tools that use information to help growers with management decisions in grain production.
  • Supporting policy development and industry strategies for partnering and funding improved infrastructure to address ‘to-farm’ and ‘on-farm’ connectivity.
  • Working with collaborators to initiate and facilitate an industry approach to an open information ecosystem allowing for better flow of information between grain growers, their consultants, suppliers, buyers, researchers, suppliers of weather data, and other industry participants.

Decision support tools

We want the eConnected Grainbelt project to make a real difference to growers businesses and the grains industry.

The eConnected Grainbelt project is different to others in that we are seeking involvement from growers, consultants and agri-business to ensure decision support tools, systems and technologies developed by the project meet the needs of the industry.

Additionally we want to hear from developers who have new ideas and exciting opportunities that will take our grains industry to the next level.

Last year we asked growers what types of decision support tools and systems they wanted to see developed and the priority order.

This resulted in the following list of tools being identified for development:

  • Soil water – an automated publication of charts showing local plant available soil water using established soil water models.
  • Rainfall to date – on-demand production of cumulative rainfall charts with comparisons to historical averages that can be tailored by the user for different growing seasons.
  • Extreme weather events – a map based tool that uses weather data to map areas where possible frost/heat events have occurred within critical growing periods.
  • Seasonal climate information – An automated map-based tool that shows a regional overview of seasonal climate conditions and links to location-specific charts of rainfall to date, soil water, potential yield, frost risk (conditions and forecasts).
  • Virtual weather stations – a virtual weather station tool that provides estimates of current and historical rainfall for any location by combining data from multiple sources (weather stations and Doppler radars).
  • Yield prediction – an automated model of weather and historical yield and management information which provides paddock and season specific yield prediction, continuously updated as the season progresses.
  • Fertiliser rates – a tool that accounts for all major factors that affect return on investment from fertiliser application.
  • Fungicide sprays – a portable tool that accounts for all major factors that affect return on investment of using fungicides.
  • Time of sowing – a tool that displays potential crop yield given different times of planting.
  • Liming – a tool that shows net present value of liming, post-decision assessment of effects and rates of acidification.
  • Tools dashboard – an interface for displaying tools developed by the project, focusing on providing a snapshot of current conditions and model outputs.
  • Weather API – An Application Programming Interface with endpoints to DAFWA’s automatic weather station and Doppler radar data, allowing for third party integration of DAFWA weather data.
  • Blackspot manager – a semi-automatic tool for preparing the field pea blackspot management guide, which accounts for agronomic constraints, risk of spores showers and disease severity to suggest a window of sowing dates.
  • Blackspot reporter – an automated tool for reporting Blackspot manager results.

Additional tools will be developed by third party organisations, especially when the weather application programming interface comes online, to ensure growers get the best decision support tool or system to meet their needs.

How can you be involved?

Test drive a decision support tool

You have the opportunity to become involved in the project by testing early versions of decision support tools and systems as they are developed to provide feedback. We see this as vital as we want to make sure the tools and systems developed by the project meet the needs of growers and the grains industry.

Tools currently available

Soil water - This tool shows the amount of soil water which has accumulated from the start of summer (1 November) and is available to the plant. It can be used as a tool to assist growers to make decisions throughout the season.

Rainfall to date - Rainfall to date graphs show the amount of rainfall accumulated from the start of the grain growing season compared to historical averages and can be used as a tool in the seasonal decision making process.

Extreme weather events - Using the department’s extensive weather station network, this tool provides real time information about the location, duration and severity of potential frost and heat stress events to help grain growers manage accordingly and reduce their financial impact.

Potential yield - The potential yield tool uses seasonal rainfall and decile finishes calculated from historical data to calculate the maximum wheat yield possible in the absence of any other constraints.

Each tool’s website page has a feature which enables users to provide valuable feedback to developers who will evaluate it for future upgrades.

Tools currently in development

Seasonal climate information automation 

This tool will provide up to date information about the coming season and its potential impacts on cropping and agriculture, the new version will be more dynamic and interactive to enable growers to determine the climate information they want.

Fertiliser rate – Select your nitrogen

Select your nitrogen will take into account all major factors that affect return on investment for fertiliser application, to enable growers to make informed management decisions.

Fungicide spray

A portable tool that accounts for all major factors that affect return on investment in regards to using fungicides.

Liming

This tool will enable growers to determine the net present value of liming, post-decision assessment of effects and rates of acidification.

Attend an eDemonstration site event

Using technology will empower you with information and decision making tools to manage risks and boost the profitability of your grain production business. But if you haven’t had experience with using decision support tools it can be a bit daunting. This is one of the reasons why the project has teamed up with 14 grower groups around the state to host eDemonstration Sites.

Each site hosts three events per year, which provides you with the opportunity to try decision support tools, systems and applications with consultants to see how they will benefit your business.

To find out when your next eDemonstration Site event is being held, contact one of the grower groups below.

eDemonstration sites

To gain meaningful feedback on decision support tools, systems and technologies, we are excited to be working with 14 grower groups and consultants who will host 11 eDemonstration sites across the grainbelt.

Each eDemonstration site is a place where growers, consultants and industry can gather to learn about, compare and contrast all of the decision support tools, systems and technologies available for on farm decision making. These may have been developed by DAFWA or a third party.

This technology will empower growers with information and decision making tools to manage risks and boost the profitability of their grain production businesses.

Grower groups to host the eDemonstration sites include:

Each site is fully instrumented with an automatic weather station and soil moisture probes at no cost to the grower group.

Contact information

Darren Gibbon
Page last updated: Tuesday, 22 August 2017 - 2:45pm