App designed to maximise pesticides


A new smartphone app is designed to help broadacre farmers maximise pesticide spray efficiency.

SnapCard was developed by the Department of Agriculture and Food and the University of WA to enable growers to predict spray coverage based on weather conditions and spray settings.

The free App is now available for iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones and tablets.

DAFWA senior entomologist Rob Emery said SnapCard was a valuable decision support tool which also allowed growers to assess the performance of pesticide spray applications.

"Spray applications are an important cost for growers and prior to SnapCard there were no quantitative procedures available to predict or measure efficacy and performance," Mr Emery said. "The app predicts spray coverage based on tractor speed, size of spray nozzles, spray volume, and addition of adjuvant, and weather conditions including temperature, humidity and wind speed.

"This allows growers to record, measure and archive actual spray treatments, providing better pest control, reduced risk of pesticide resistance development and minimise spray application costs."

SnapCard is the latest outcome of a strong research collaboration between DAFWA's entomology group and the Applied Entomology program at UWA, led by Associate Professor Christian Nansen. The development of the phone App is supported by the Council of Grain Grower Organisations.

Mr Emery said predicted coverage could be saved along with spray settings and additional details of treatment, equipment used and chemical rate.

Another key part of the App involves placement of water-sensitive spray cards that can be used in field locations with optional GPS co-ordinates and comments recorded so that a map view of whole paddock coverage can be considered.

"Following treatment, the spray cards can be photographed by SnapCard and the image cropped to the area of the card with droplets," Mr Emery said. "Actual coverage is then calculated by SnapCard and compared with the predicted coverage. This allows farmers to assess actual spray coverage and refine how they use the predictive tool."

Users have the option to create an account and log into the SnapCard website on a DAFWA server where data can be synchronised and archived. This allows users to look back at long-forgotten treatment profiles for future seasons while satisfying Department of Health regulations.

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