Local crop trial data now even simpler to find

Author: | Date: 15 Jun 2018

An image of David Lamb on a computer
Professor David Lamb, from the Precision Agriculture Research Group at the University of New England, using the Online Farm Trials website at the GRDC Research Update event in Goondiwindi earlier this year.

Valuable, timely and locally relevant information stemming from Australian crop research trials is now even easier and quicker to access following recent improvements to the popular Online Farm Trials (OFT) web portal.

This resource, available at 'Online Farm Trials,' is a Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) investment that allows users to view, analyse and export latest and historical grains research information.

Developed by the Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation (CeRDI) at Federation University Australia in Ballarat (Victoria) and launched in 2014, it stores information provided by grower groups, research organisations, government bodies and other grain industry stakeholders.

Ben Wills, the project’s Industry Engagement and Impact Research Lead, said the OFT website now featured streamlined searching capability for trials, was more ‘intuitive’ to use and highlighted – under ‘Browse by Topic’ - collections of trials relating to relevant seasonal issues.

“The aim of the recent improvements is to allow growers, agronomists, researchers and the wider grains industry to access, in the simplest and most efficient way, data and information that can help support grower decisions at a local level,” he said.

Dr Wills said the upgraded, faster underlying search functionality behind OFT allowed users to filter, sort and discover information that was most relevant to them.

“We welcome feedback about the new search functionality, particularly about how relevant the results are from searches made, and specific examples of where refinements could be made,” he said.

“Our team will use this feedback, which can be reported back to us through the website, to adjust and refine future results delivered by the new search engine.”

A screenshot of the Online Farm Trials website.
The Online Farm Trials website now features streamlined searching capability for trials, is more ‘intuitive’ to use and highlights – under ‘Browse by Topic’ - collections of trials relating to relevant seasonal issues.

Dr Wills said additional trial results were continually being published on the OFT site, which now houses information for more than 6000 trials from 60 contributors across Australia, with more than 4330 trials publicly accessible.

Among the data available on OFT from WA research are some recently added findings from farming systems group the Liebe Group, which has published results from more than 500 projects from 2002. Findings newly added by the group cover topics including:

  • Timing of nitrogen for canola grown in the lower rainfall areas of WA
  • Deep incorporation of lime into acidic subsoils
  • Soil management strategies for improving pH on red loam
  • Understanding the importance of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulphur interactions in wheat cropping systems.

The data available on OFT from Queensland and New South Wales research are some recently added findings from the Managing Profitable Farming Systems’ retained stubble project.

The data is based on southern NSW research conducted by Tony Swan from CSIRO in collaboration with the Central West and the Riverine Plains farming systems groups. This work examined:

  • Management options to deal with high stubble loads
  • And the impact of various stubble treatments on nitrogen levels.

Other new data on the site includes Northern Grower Alliance (NGA) research:

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of citric acid as an adjuvant for the control of summer grasses in fallow
  • And information assessing the mungbean response to phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen.

When adding results to the OFT website, organisations retain all intellectual property rights and manage their own data, allowing them to submit, update or remove trial information from the database.

The focus of the OFT resource is to include information derived from RD&E projects that have GRDC investment, but the website can host trial and research information from any researchers or organisations that seek to contribute to it.

Contact Details

For Interviews
Ben Wills, Federation University Australia
03 5327 6759

Toni Somes, Cox Inall Communications
0427 878 387 

GRDC Project code: UB0006