Grains Research and Development

Date: 09.12.2011

Unidentified weeds have nowhere to hide with grains industry's new phone technology

Unidentified weeds have nowhere to hide with grains industry’s new phone technology

The new age of information technology is catching up with the age-old problem of weeds in cropping systems.

Heralding a new era in the provision of information to Australian grain growers, an innovative smart-phone application is being launched today to assist southern cropping region growers in identifying weeds growing on their properties.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation’s Weeds: The Ute Guide application provides growers with a free-of-charge weeds identification service that can be accessed anywhere at any time.

The application is designed to be used in the paddock by growers to assist in identifying the most common annual, biennial and perennial weeds in southern Australia.

GRDC Regional Grower Services’ Manager of Delivery Platforms, Tom McCue, says the weed identification application represents a major advancement in communicating industry knowledge to growers.

“Most grain growers carry a mobile phone with them wherever they go so the GRDC is adapting its information resources to enable growers to have ready access to data and facts when that information is needed most,” said Mr McCue.

Speaking at the application’s launch, which took place during a National Integrated Weed Management Initiative Committee meeting in Adelaide, Mr McCue said the GRDC was planning to convert a number of its popular hard-copy Ute Guides into mobile phone applications.

“A mobile phone is the one tool that growers tend to carry with them at all times so it makes sense that we utilise that platform for delivering immediate information to support them in their on-farm decision-making processes.

“Quite often growers will walk out into the middle of paddock to inspect crops so if they come across a weed they are unsure of, they can easily check its identity by using the phone app.

“And the service will work even if growers don’t have mobile coverage in a certain area.”

Currently designed for download on to an iPhone®, the weeds identification application will soon be available in other smart-phone and tablet formats.

Mr McCue said the application, available only in Australia and New Zealand, had been created in a farmer-friendly format to streamline the weeds identification process.

“Where possible, photographs of the weed at various growth stages have been provided to ensure correct identification. A calendar for each weed shows which time of the year the weed is likely to be present in the paddock,” he said.

“And the application allows users to search, identify, compare and email photographs of weeds to their networks via their phone’s inbuilt contacts list.”

He said the GRDC was keen to receive feedback from growers on the application’s effectiveness and functionality.

While the application is designed for use in the southern and western grain-growing regions, a similar weeds identification product for northern grain growers is expected to be launched soon.

The application, developed with assistance from digital agency Reading Room, can be accessed via www.grdc.com.au/apps.

ENDS

Images from the launch are available by contacting Sharon Watt on 0409 675100 or email swatt@porternovelli.com.au

• Media requiring further information can contact Tom McCue, GRDC Regional Grower Services’ Manager of Delivery Platforms, on 0429 046007

• www.grdc.com.au/apps

• This media release and other media products are available via www.grdc.com.au/media

Region South, West, North