Report Detail Page
Phone app for pasture management - overview of development
This project was undertaken to develop the first FutureBeef decision support app, Stocktake Plus, for graziers in northern Australia. The research organisation’s role was to project manage the development process to ensure all agreed specifications were met. Furthermore, the project team supported the development company (Fresh, contracted directly by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), under contract B.NBP.0735), by providing access to Background Intellectual Property and all necessary Research, Development and Extension (R,D&E) expertise. This included support tools required within the app and ensuring the functionality of the app so it was technically correct, logical and practical for graziers in Northern Australia.
Three integrated products were developed within this project:
1. Stocktake Plus app for Apple devices
2. Stocktake Plus app for Android devices
3. Stocktake Plus webpage, which includes pages on the use of the app including Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and support, along with the ‘Dashboard’ application for users to securely store and manage their data through their user account.
The Stocktake Plus app allows the user to monitor land condition, stock numbers and rainfall. The app also has a forage budgeting tool to help calculate the optimal balance of stock to available pasture. Stocktake Plus also produces reports for all records kept, including long-term ‘benchmark’ carrying capacities for paddocks and properties. Records are securely backed-up on a server, and protected by user account names and passwords.
The app based on the previous, well-respected Queensland Government Stocktake monitoring software, now allows the user to complete calculations in the paddock on their mobile device for an immediate solution to record-keeping. The app also has a full range of inbuilt support tools, including land type factsheets, pasture yield and ground cover photo standards, and pasture growth output from grass production model (GRASP) for a range of land types and locations across northern Australia.
The intuitive design of the app and these inbuilt support tools help make monitoring grazing land condition and forage budgeting much more accessible for graziers and advisors and is consistent with Grazing BMP. The app design removes barriers to adoption that traditionally required good knowledge of the science and techniques that underpin monitoring and budgeting.
The Apple and Android Stocktake Plus app and associated webpage were developed and launched in April 2013. Overall, the three products exceeded expectations of the project team and stakeholders. Peer and industry testing/demonstration improved the end products and helped to remove any technical or practical glitches with the app prior to launch.
The project had a minor slippage with the launch date (approximately one month), and one aspect of the original specifications related to the web version was not fully met. The launch date slippage allowed the project partners to be confident in the legal disclaimers and branding associated with the app and gave the developers and project team more time for internal testing. The app was still launched in time for the optimal monitoring and forage budgeting period in northern Australia (end of growing season, April/May).
The adjustment to original specifications surrounding the web version of the app were renegotiated and managed by MLA and Fresh and did not detrimentally affect the overall project or resulting products.
Project management and app testing undertaken in the project was substantially more than originally anticipated, however the additional work significantly benefited the end products. Furthermore, each of the inbuilt support tools within the app were also reviewed and improved prior to inclusion. The project was an excellent opportunity to integrate and refine the various tools. Special acknowledgement must be made of the various colleagues, project partners and other departmental agencies that undertook this work, mostly out of good-will, to ensure the products launched represented the best R,D&E outcomes.
Since the success of the Stocktake Plus app, as a decision support tool and extension vehicle for key grazing BMP, can only be measured by industry use of the app, and adoption of these practices, a third phase of project work has been proposed.
The aim of the proposed project would be to extend and evaluate the impact of the Stocktake Plus app, whilst also scoping the role for apps as decision support tools within the FutureBeef Program. At the time of this final report, the proposal for this additional work was being considered by DAFFQ and MLA.
This page was last updated on 24/07/2017
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