Screenshots from Graincast. Backing image: Andrew Gustar/CC
Australia’s grain industry has come a long way from the very first successful wheat crop in 1789. Last year, almost 20 million hectares of land grew cereal crops (mainly wheat, barley and oats) and wheat alone was our second biggest agricultural export, valued at $5.1 billion.
We’ve been helping agricultural industries for 100 years and we continue to work in plant breeding and improvement, combatting cereal rusts, addressing soil fertility and seeking opportunities for value adding to raw commodities.
With the world having moved into the digital age, agriculture is no exception and with our Digiscape Future Science Platform, we’re right there undertaking high risk, fast results frontier science to help farmers and land managers harness the digital revolution.
The real grain of truth
We’ve developed a smart phone app, called Graincast, which grain growers can use to forecast their grain yield from a single paddock to an entire farm. It’s the only technology that uses satellites, climate forecasts, crop models and more to provide near real-time soil, water and yield information, at any time, without the farmer needing to input a lot of detailed information.
With Graincast there’s no hassle of identifying soil types, calibrating crop models, searching for satellite information or trying to interpret complex data.
What farmers want
Our scientists asked grain growers what they needed and what they liked about their job and we built it accordingly. They said they wanted something they could use on their phone and that was easy to use. They didn’t want to be told what to do – they just wanted the information so they can decide what to do with it that’s best for them. We see this as helping growers with their gut instincts when it comes to cropping decisions, such as when to apply fertiliser and planning sowing.
Another first is that by using Graincast we can also forecast grain yield and soil moisture at regional and state levels and even for the whole country.