New online portal to help farmers

July 9, 2010

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A new interactive website aimed at helping Australia’s farmers get the best value from their crops is now being trialled by a group of farmers in Western Australia’s wheatbelt shire of Corrigin.

Developed by Murdoch’s Centre for Comparative Genomics (CCG) team, the Farm Improvement Web (FIWeb) portal will bring together the masses of farm-level data collected both nationally and locally that is relevant to decision-making on farming properties each year.

Professor Matthew Bellgard, Director of the CCG, said: "At the moment this information is not used properly because the data is either too hard to access or it’s too complex and not presented in a way that meets the grower requirements."

It is hoped farmers and agronomists will use it to share environmental, soil moisture and soil nutrition information at the paddock level alongside pre-existing national databases.

Professor Rudi Appels, a Research Leader in Agricultural Genomics at the CCG, said the portal would also help the researchers gather information to assess how many variables impact on the wheat crop and build strategies to modify wheat to perform under climate conditions like drought.

"FIWeb creates a common ground – providing an easy to use system that runs within a web browser, bringing together the growers and research data from around the world," Professor Appels said.

"For example, integrating data generated from China on how different varieties of grain perform in different conditions with national data will inform growers how to make better use of the land and water that is available."

The portal project is being supported by the Australian National Data Service and the Corrigin Farm Improvement Group.

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