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Weather data for irrigation scheduling/crop modelling

The data

The Queensland Government, through the Open Data portal, provides access to historical weather information for Queensland in the form of patched point datasets. End users access the data through the government’s Scientific Information for Land Owners (SILO) application.

The user

AgriTech Solutions, a specialist provider of irrigation management and agronomy consulting services, uses SILO to gather weather information for predictive crop modelling.

The business benefit

The SILO patched point data feeds into a web-based sugarcane irrigation scheduling tool called IrrigWeb. Developed by SQR Software Pty Ltd in Brisbane, IrrigWeb uses a sugarcane crop model, CANEGRO, to calculate sugarcane crop water use and yield outputs. This information helps farmers optimise their water management strategies.

SILO provides meteorological data for around 800 locations throughout Queensland. If the daily data from a specific point is missing or considered unreliable, it is interpolated – or ‘patched’ – using observed data from surrounding locations.

Information for improved decision making

The information generated by the model helps sugarcane producers plan their irrigation requirements – when to apply and how much – so that their irrigation efficiency is maximised, irrigation inputs are minimised and productivity is increased.

Sugarcane Cropping Systems Agronomist Steve Attard reports that access to the patched point data has significantly improved his ability to represent local weather. Consequently, his clients have increased confidence that the information is relevant to their location and will result in improved decision-making on their part.

Steve feels the demand for weather-related information will increase in the future.

The use of patched point data increases the reliability of forecasting due to the large number of data collection points available. Prior to the use of patched point data, Steve’s firm relied on data collected from a very small number of weather stations, a factor which made predictions less reliable at locations where there were no nearby recording stations.

For more information

For more information about AgriTech Solutions, contact Steve directly on mobile 0418 155 844 or email steveagritech@bigpond.com.

To access Queensland Government data, bookmark http://data.qld.gov.au.

Having access to the data has significantly improved our ability to represent local weather.

Steve Attard
AgriTech Solutions

Sugarcane crop

Irrigation system at a sugarcane farm

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