A number of new programmes and apps were unveiled at Cereals, enabling farmers to simply and easily access information and advice on their farms.
The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology launched the ASSIST E-Planner tool at Cereals - a free, web-based application which helps farmers to explore the suitability of their land for different environmental management options.
The tool uses a wide range of environmental datasets derived from satellites, airborne sensors and national surveys to map suitability for four key management options at 5 metre resolution, for every agricultural field in Great Britain.
These maps are then presented in an easy to use interface allowing farmers to determine the most suitable environmental use for an area they are considering taking out of production, or to find the most suitable area on their farm for a given option.
The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology is also showing visitors to Cereals Live a first look at its latest mobile app ‘E-Surveyor’ which enables farmers to simply and easily assess the quality of wildlife habitats on their farm and learn more about the biodiversity these habitats support.
Backed by the latest AI, the app can automatically identify hundreds of plant species from photographs taken on your mobile.
By photographing all the plants in your wildlife habitat you can generate a report which provides information on how successful your seedmix has been, the wildlife that is supported by the plant species you have grown, and how your success compares to other farmers.
For a sneak peak of the app visit: youtu.be/5NV3e17jhsc
The new ASDA Soil Health Assessment Guide which aims to help farmers manage soil health better was launched at Cereals.
Created alongside NIAB and the University Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership, the guide takes into account physical, biological and chemical properties of the soil and asks for management information across the rotation to calculate an overall soil health score.
This helps growers to work out the most appropriate methods of soil management, that are easy to use on farm, says NIAB’s Dr Elizabeth Stockdale, head of farming systems.
An Excel based-tool which visualises soil data collected and compares it to the benchmarks has also been developed.
Dr Stockdale added: “The tool is really useful for farmers to assess, and think about changes they could make to improve their soil health.”
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Fieldmargin is a farm management programme and app which allows farmers to track what is happening in the field, assign tasks to staff and monitor crop health, remotely.
The programme, developed by an Hertfordshire arable farmer, uses RPA boundaries to create an instant map of the farm.
This can then be used to assign crops to each field, where cultivations; input applications, rates, products and mixes; and pest and disease issues can be live tracked with up-to-the-minute information that can be shared with an unlimited number of team members.
With Field Jobs, tasks can be assigned to each member of staff, including a due date for the task to be completed by and an option to mark it as finished so records are up-to-date as soon as work has been completed.
Live and forward weather data from Apple’s Dark Sky can be used to plan field work and tasks for the week ahead.
Growers can use the programme to record issues such as pests, disease or farm maintenance using located notes with photos, while satellite imagery with NDVI analysis means problem areas can be identified remotely.
An unlimited number of users can have access to the programme, and information can be easily shared between staff members and agronomists.
Fieldmargin is launching harvest reports for harvest 2020 and is looking to include livestock within the programme in the near future.
Syngenta has updated its Hybrid Barley calculator. Growers can now use their own seed price rather than using a standard price.
A straw slider has also been added in recognition of straw being a valuable source of additional income, said Mark Bullen of Syngenta. “At a yield of 6 tonnes/hectare of straw from hybrid barley, even at a price of £50/t it can be worth £300/ha for just the straw.”
The company has also updated its BYDV Assist app, explained Dr Max Newbert. “This year, to ensure they have crops in the ground, growers are likely to be drilling earlier. September to November is the risk period, especially up to mid-October. If earlier, you could hit the peak of aphids and seven to 42 per cent could be carrying the virus. There is also a very serious RPV strain emerging.”
BYDV Assist uses cumulative temperature data to alert growers to the optimum time to spray insecticides for aphid control.
“The app is still free but we now ask people to sign in, providing their name and email address. If you swap phones or log in on a different one data will be saved on the server so you can log back in to get the information.
“It is also now simpler to add in field details. Once you have entered field details you can go back in and edit fields without having to start again. At 40 day degrees, growers are given a warning that the 170 day degree spray threshold is likely to be reached in the next few days.”