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Agronomic app delivers in-field diagnostics

Countryman

Graingrowers can now diagnose wheat production constraints while standing in their paddock using the MyCrop App developed by the Department of Agriculture and Food WA and launched at the Esperance Downs Research Station Field Day this week.

Department grains industry director Mark Sweetingham described the diagnostic app as a 'virtual agronomist' and said it had consolidated decades of the department's wheat production research and development.

"Growers can be standing in a wheat crop looking at a disease or nutritional symptom and use the app to immediately get an expert on what's likely to be wrong," Dr Sweetingham said.

At the heart of the new app is an intuitive diagnostic key that quickly identifies wheat issues based on real-time crop and paddock symptoms.

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"With disease, pest and nutrition issues accounting for a major proportion of wheat production costs, using the MyCrop app to diagnose and overcome constraints quickly will save growers time and money," he said.

The app does not require the internet and can be used in even the most remote of locations.

MyCrop project leader and department development officer Kelly Ryan said the app was also a valuable education tool - offering young agronomists and agricultural students a centralised source of wheat production information.

"The app contains a virtual library of hundreds of images and factsheets on specific wheat constraints to aid the diagnosis process," she said.

The project is co-funded by the department and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

Department development officer Doug Sawkins has worked on the MyCrop project since it started more than three years ago - drawing on his 40 years of agronomic experience to develop the diagnostic key system central to the MyCrop app and its online web version.

"The MyCrop project has been a valuable way to harness and integrate the huge amount of agronomic and diagnostic knowledge contained within the department," he said.

Wheat production constraints covered by the app include more than 90 disease, pest, nutritional and soil issues.

Canola and barley production constraints will be incorporated into the app into the future.

The android version of the MyCrop App is available for download from Google Play. An iOS version will be available soon from iTunes.

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