Crop diagnosis and response a click away for agronomists

Author: Sharon Watt | Date: 20 Aug 2014

CropPro

A new web-based diagnostic tool to assist agronomists in identifying and managing cropping constraints was unveiled today.

Designed for use in the southern cropping region and developed through the Grains Research and Development Corporation-funded Diagnostic Agronomy Southern program, CropPro was launched at the BCG industry adviser day in Victoria and is now available at www.croppro.com.au.

Project leader Dr Chris Pittock, from the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI), says CropPro has been designed to assist agronomists to identify specific crop constraints, or short list likely constraints, based on agronomic observations.

“CropPro delivers diagnostic and economic tools for efficient identification and management of constraints to crop productivity,” Dr Pittock says.

“The three core functions of CropPro are to diagnose the cause of crop problems, support risk analysis and to provide evidence-based information for management of crop constraints.”

CropPro offers wheat and canola diagnostic tools, economic calculators for the management of most constraints, explanatory videos, and in-house browse-able content and search functions.

Dr Pittock says the “diagnose” component uses observations about an underperforming crop and shortlists likely underlying constraints based on this data.

“Each constraint has an information page that provides short-form summary information and links to key resources on identification, cause and management of the constraint.”

Economic considerations of constraint management are explored through the “option$” page. Users can test different management actions against the default ‘do nothing’ option.

“An economic analysis of likely net return of each option and preferred option is provided. Accompanying videos explore concepts of such as risk and sunk costs as well as economic considerations highlighting management practices that may manage risk into the future,” Dr Pittock says.

The “explore” function presents key information resources in browse-able form – such as the Crop Disease Manual and a set of nutrient review articles. This function also provides a customised search portal to locate recent, evidence-based information from trusted sources.

Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said the development of CropPro was another example of positive collaboration between government and industry.

“The Victorian Coalition Government has set a target for our state’s farmers to double food and fibre production by 2030 and tools like this will help them to achieve that,” Mr Walsh said.

GRDC Manager of Delivery Platforms, Tom McCue, says the launch of CropPro represents a major advance in the delivery of practical and useful resources to assist in the protection of crops in the southern region.

“Agronomists are at the frontline of the provision of advice and information to the region’s grain growers so it is important that they are equipped with cutting-edge technology that enables rapid diagnosis of crop issues and response,” Mr McCue says.

Agronomists in the southern region were involved in a trial of CropPro before its launch today.

More information about CropPro is available from Dr Chris Pittock on 0458 620 759 or email Chris.Pittock@depi.vic.gov.au.

ENDS

Caption: CropPro has been designed to assist agronomists to identify specific crop constraints, or short list likely constraints, based on agronomic observations. Photo: DEPI

For Interviews

Chris Pittock, DEPI Victoria
0458 620 759

Contact

Sharon Watt, Porter Novelli
0409 675100

GRDC Project Code DAV00122

Region South, North