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Preliminary investigation into the development of an electronic forage budget and land condition application, for use on existing hand-held devices, for the northern grazing industry
Within this project Agri-Science Queensland (within DEEDI) and Meat and Livestock Australia conducted a preliminary investigation into the viability, likely uptake and benefits of developing an ‘app’ (a software application hosted on a smart phone) to assist northern Australian graziers with their land condition monitoring and forage budgeting. Undertaking regular land condition assessments and forage budgets to match pasture supply to animal demand is considered part of best-practice management for graziers in northern Australia. Undertaking these management tasks, however, is often complex and requires a number of steps, both in the paddock and the office along with supporting tools and learnt skills to reach the end points; “what is the current condition of my pastures” and “how long will this feed last given the stock in the paddock”.
A specifically designed app for a smart phone or tablet was proposed as a potential solution to increase the adoption of these management practices amongst graziers. Three tasks were undertaken concurrently as part of the investigation; a review of literature, a survey of graziers and advisors in northern Australia, and consultation with software developers to scope the technical feasibility of developing the proposed app. The review of literature considered the evolution of hand-held decision support tools, a comparison of operating platforms and ‘smart’ devices for the task, and currently available agricultural apps and their uptake.
A survey of northern Australian graziers and advisors sought views from industry what would be the likely benefit and uptake of this proposed app. The survey found that 76% of respondents thought this 'app' would be either useful or very useful for the grazing industry generally. Around 74% and 73% of respondents respectively said the app would increase the number or frequency of forage budgets and land condition assessments undertaken. Approximately 80% of respondents said the app would help them get started on forage budgeting and land condition assessments if they did not currently undertake these practices already. There are no technical constraints to developing the desired app and development costs were investigated. If development of an app proceeds, it will be important to provide a strong extension framework to support its piloting and promotion.
This page was last updated on 24/07/2017
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