INDEPENDENT NEWS

Farmers wanted to help NIWA

Published: Wed 27 May 2015 04:39 PM
Farmers wanted to help NIWA
NIWA is looking for farmers to help fine tune its latest development.
The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research has developed new tools that can help farmers decide when to irrigate or fertilise. But it needs farmers to test out the tools to ensure they are as practical and easy to use as possible.
The first new tool is called NIWA IrriMet and will be demonstrated at the NIWA stand in the main pavilion at this year’s National Agricultural Fieldays. IrriMet follows the successful launch of FarmMet at last year’s Fieldays.
FarmMet is a tailored weather forecasting tool that provides accurate up-to-date forecasts specific to individual properties. It works by capturing data from climate stations closest to an individual farm and using that to tailor a forecast to farmers delivered straight to their computer.
IrriMet also taps into this same data which is fed in real time to NIWA’s supercomputer, combined with high-resolution weather forecasting and soil information to generate a six-day forecast of soil moisture and leaching potential.
It tells farmers when and how much to irrigate, what the leaching potential is and how overall growth is tracking.
Dr Jochen Schmidt, NIWA’s Chief Scientist Environmental Information, says: “We’ve got the science sorted and we’re now up to working out the best way to translate it into information that will help farmers make better operational decisions.
“We’re looking for farmers from all around New Zealand who irrigate their properties. What we need is help and feedback on our trial product – particularly on how the information is presented.”
Dr Schmidt says farmers shouldn’t have to rely on guesswork when scheduling irrigation but should be able to make informed decisions.
Extensive research has gone into finding out what weather and soil moisture information is of most benefit to enable them to plan effectively and the next stage was presenting it the most user-friendly way possible.
“The potential benefits are huge,” Dr Schmidt says.
“Famers can reduce power, maintenance and operational costs and if water isn’t needed, it can be left where it is or reallocated.”
NIWA is also keen to talk to farmers whose farms are located in a gap in NIWA’s weather and soil moisture monitoring network to discuss the possibility of installing a NIWA IrriMet station on their property.
Data from the station would be fed into NIWA’s national database and be available online.
Free access to the trial version of NIWA’s second new tool, a pasture growth forecaster, is also being offered at Fieldays.
“This is all about putting information at farmers’ fingertips to help them maximise farm profit. That’s why it’s vital that we get their input our design and development,” Dr Schmidt says.
ENDS

Next in Business, Science, and Tech

Next steps for Auckland light rail
By: New Zealand Government
Gender pay gap unchanged since 2017
By: Statistics New Zealand
Stuff pulls pin on media companies' joint ad-buying business
By: BusinessDesk
Transdev to Acquire Auckland And Wellington Bus Businesses
By: Transdev
Twyford's choice: NZTA or Super Fund for Auckland light rail
By: BusinessDesk
A whole term of Government with no shovels in the ground
By: New Zealand National Party
Transport Agency welcomes next steps for light rail
By: NZTA
Light rail delay creates highway opportunities
By: Automobile Association
Government taking action to close gender pay gap
By: New Zealand Government
Genter delaying pay equity for publicity stunt
By: New Zealand National Party
Gender Pay Imbalance - call for PM to take action
By: New Zealand Council of Trade Unions
Persistent gender pay gap - need for Govt to move faster
By: NZEI Te Riu Roa
Opportunity to fix the gender pay gap in tertiary sector
By: Tertiary Education Union
Government must take the handbrakes off, deliver equal pay
By: Public Service Association
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILEWe're in BETA! Send Feedback © Scoop Media