In the media: Award for grain yield forecasting app Graincast

November 6th, 2020

By Gregor Heard, Australian Community Media. This article first appeared on Farm Online. 

AN APP designed to provide estimated yield data has won an award at the prestigious iAwards hosted by the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA). Graincast, developed by CSIRO, won the Government section of the awards for apps. It was designed to give farmers relevant information to help with management decisions in real time. Roger Lawes, CSIRO research scientist and one of the developers of Graincast, said it was an honour to take out the award.

He said the development of the app, now in its second year and monitoring 1600 paddocks across the country, had been a steep learning curve.

“As a scientist, the natural tendency is to cram in more and more data, but with the app, the feedback from farmers was that this was not what they wanted,” Dr Lawes said.

“They overwhelming wanted something where they could just input the basics and get a number about how their paddock would yield according to various circumstances,” he said.

“Not digging down and getting really precise information goes against the instincts of scientists, but it is one of the areas where digital agriculture often goes wrong, just providing data overload.”

“If you drop a pin on a map there is almost nothing I can’t find out, I can run crop models, I can check the soil on the ASRIS (Australian Soil Resource Information Systems) maps, I can check the mapped paddock boundaries, but none of that is the point.”

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