Crop trials data rounded up for easy online access
Author: Sharon Watt | Date: 21 Jun 2016
Data from thousands of Australian on-farm grains research trials is being collated into a central, easy-to-access information resource for growers, agronomists, researchers and the wider grains industry.
The Online Farms Trials (OFT) website www.farmtrials.com.au has been set up to allow users to view, analyse and export grains research information.
Using innovative technology, the OFT portal has been developed by the Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation (CeRDI) at Federation University Australia in Ballarat (Victoria) with funding from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
Project leader Robert Milne says around 3000 trial projects have so far been published on the OFT site, with data supplied by grower groups from across the nation.
“The development and release of the OFT website provides an exciting new way to make findings and discover information from cropping trials conducted throughout Australia,” Mr Milne said.
“The principle objective of the OFT project is to help improve the productivity and sustainability of farming enterprises by improving access to on-farm trial research information.
“Collation of this information in an online database will allow historical, geographical and crop-specific comparisons to be made.”
Published trial projects cover a wide range of crops and treatment types, and the portal includes a number of key features, such as:
- An interactive map of trial sites with layers of relevant information such as agroecological zones and average rainfall;
- Advanced search filters including treatment type, crop type and location;
- Search results with graphical display of measured results such as yield data and disease scores;
- Climate and soil information for each project;
- Original trial report documents linked to each trial project; and
- Links to other relevant information sources.
Grower groups and researchers are continuing to enter data to the portal and the number of trials published on the site will increase over the next year.
“The OFT website contains information on how to become involved in the project and how to submit research. Grower groups which have previously not submitted data are welcome to become involved,” Mr Milne said.
“Greater involvement of grower groups is paramount for the long-term uptake of the trial data and the success of OFT.”
Further expansion of the OFT database will improve access to previous and current research findings and improve research, development and extension opportunities among grain growers and researchers.
Grower groups and researchers retain all intellectual property rights and manage their own data, allowing them to update or remove trial information contributed to the OFT database.
Mr Milne said a long-term research study into the impact of technological innovations, such as that provided by OFT, on enhanced decision-making and practice change is being conducted by CeRDI researchers. This research also guides the development of OFT technology based on a greater understanding of user and sector needs.
Robert Milne, Federation University Australia
03 5327 9488
Sharon Watt, Porter Novelli
Region South, West