Trusting water quality data versus going with your gut feel
Nitrogen losses from intensive crop production into wet tropical catchments of north Queensland are a major threat to the health of the Great Barrier Reef. However, owing to the lack of information on these losses and the extreme variability in climate and rainfall over very small distances, it's been difficult for growers to link nitrogen that appears in the environment and nitrogen management on their farm. There's also been the expectation that changing fertiliser management practices could affect crop yields.
Harnessing the digital revolution to support fertiliser application decisions
We're developing a suite of apps, called 1622™, to deliver information services to farmers that address their concerns, make for faster change in farm management practices and help growers reduce impacts of cropping on the Great Barrier Reef. Our 1622™ apps are at different stages of product development. Our first app, 1622WQ™ ('water quality'), was released in January 2020.
- 1622WQ™ provides real-time water quality information. It allows farmers to see, for example, the influence of recent rainfall on water quality or whether management actions such as recent fertilising has affected nitrogen losses. Farmers can also see the seasonal climate outlook to help plan ahead.
- The 1622WhatIf?™ function of the app allows farmers to evaluate the risks and benefits of changing nitrogen fertiliser applications. For example, 'what if I change my fertiliser rate, harvest date and/or fertilising date and how would that affect my crop yields and nitrogen losses?'
- 1622Crop™ uses our drone-based LiDAR system, satellites and other novel sensing technologies to help farmers use less nitrogen-based fertiliser without affecting their profits. Growers can compare different management strategies in real time through the season.
1622WQ™ meeting industry needs
For the first time, farmers now have real-time information on key factors for growing sugarcane. 1622WQ™ brings together information on sugarcane production and environmental performance to help farmers:
- evaluate their crop management
- facilitate better decisions and
- help them protect the Great Barrier Reef.
Following a recent independent evaluation, we’ve found that our 1622 apps could bring $20.4m - $62.9m in economic benefits from 2021 - 2030, mainly in cost savings from reduced fertiliser use. Read more on the evaluation.