Yield prediction app wins competition

Western Australian grain grower Michael Fels has won the GRDC-supported Grain Inventors competition to develop a yield forecasting app for smartphones.

The app, entitled iPaddock Yield, will be designed to give growers an accurate forecast of yield as well as the season’s profit outlook, based on inputs and other crop management factors. Mr Fels has been awarded $15,000 to develop the app.

The competition was launched last year by the GRDC in partnership with the Australian Year of the Farmer campaign, the objective being to find Australia’s most innovative homegrown invention for the grains sector.

Mr Fels and his wife Marnie have used their data-modelling technique, on which the concept is based, within their own business and say they have achieved significant savings by making more-informed decisions about input costs.

“We have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars over a number of below-average seasons by making informed rational decisions at a time when the crops were looking a million dollars,” Mr Fels says.

“Conversely, in high-yield seasons we have been able to maximise our profits through higher nitrogen rates and fungicides, in the knowledge that the potential return on inputs is high.”

The iPaddock Yield concept has been tested on farms in low, medium and high-rainfall zones, and its yield forecasts have been matched at harvest. Mr Fels says the next stage of development is to take iPaddock Yield from a PC computer program to mobile devices.

GRDC chairman Keith Perrett says it is pleasing to be able to support the further development of the concept.

“The iPaddock Yield app is a great idea, and I can’t wait to see it take off and make it to the smartphones of growers across Australia,” Mr Perrett says. “It also shows growers are continuing their tradition of developing ingenious solutions on their farms.”

An independent panel of experts selected iPaddock Yield from a field of high-quality entries from growers, researchers and machinists.

More information:

Michael Fels
0428 783 014
micfels@bigpond.com

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GRDC Project Code PNS00014

Region West