The GRDC funded app 'SoilWater' is now available for IOS.
Growers now have access to locally specific soil water
modelling using the new IOS SoilWater app, funded by the GRDC.
University of Southern Queensland soil scientist David
Freebairn says the locally specific information sets SoilWater apart from other
available apps such as CliMate.
"SoilWater was essentially a spin-off from CliMate. CliMate
provides great information, but it is quite general, so in SoilWater we have a
program which is much more locally specific and gives growers more useful
information" he said.
Soil water estimates will allow growers to better estimate
their yield potential at sowing, and make decisions accordingly. For instance,
if there is more moisture than usual, growers may choose to increase their
inputs, or if soil moisture is low, growers may consider reducing up-front
Up until now, the only way to have access to local soil
water information has been using soil moisture monitoring equipment, which
generally has initial costs in the thousands.
"The SoilWater App uses a water-balance model to calculate
water inflows and outflows through a soil profile on a daily basis. Local
weather data including rainfall, temperature, solar radiation and evaporation
are used to simulate crop growth, runoff, drainage and stored moisture levels
in each soil layer" Dr Freebairn said.
Using mobile phone location information, the app uses weather
data from the nearest Bureau of Meteorology station to estimate soil moisture.
Growers can override this data with actual rainfall where relevant to improve
the accuracy of predictions. For example, if a grower’s own rain gauge shows
they received significantly different rainfall than their local BoM station in
a summer storm they can override the BoM rainfall with their own.
The app is primarily designed to estimate soil moisture at
the time of sowing, though it does also estimate soil moisture during the
The team are developing a wireless rain gauge which will
work together with the app to make the information even more localised.
"We have a prototype working at the moment and are hoping to
commercialise it soon. The rain gauge data will automatically feed into
SoilWater so growers can estimate quite accurately how much moisture is in
their soil" Dr Freebain said.
The app is available from mid-February from the SoilWater App website.
0408 876 904
GRDC Project Code