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August 2018

Assisting farmers: The eConnected Grainbelt Project will continue to assist farmers make better decisions through the use of agricultural technology, thanks to the recent project extension.

Funding available under new WA Internet of Things DecisionAg grant program

Applications are now open for the eConnected Grainbelt Project’s new WA Internet of Things (IoT) DecisionAg Grant Program.

The eConnected Grainbelt Project will contribute up to $500,000 via this new program to establish digital agricultural technology on reference farms throughout WA’s Wheatbelt.

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Upcoming event: The upcoming Ag-Tech Hackathon will provide a platform for developers and tech-savvy industry participants to work on finding solutions to real life ag-tech problems.

New weather website launched

Getting all your weather information in one place is now even easier, thanks to the launch of the eConnected Grainbelt Project’s upgraded weather web application.

The eConnected team has been working hard on its new and improved weather web app, which now allows users better access to data from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s (DPIRD) 175 weather stations and Doppler radars.

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Doppler Radar outages notification

Grainbelt growers are advised that the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has announced planned outages for its three DPIRD Doppler Radars, with upgrade work beginning earlier this month.

The three DPIRD-owned Doppler radars, which are located throughout WA’s grain growing regions at Newdegate, South Doodlakine and Watheroo, will go offline at different times over the next two months, to allow BoM to complete necessary upgrades. Each radar will be offline for 10-12 days.

These Doppler radars provide real-time information that is used by forecasters to generate weather predictions and issue severe weather warnings, and by stakeholders and members of the public.

Please note that the DPIRD Doppler radars will be undergoing maintenance and will not be available for the following periods:

Newdegate - Tue 14 Aug, 9am to Fri 24 Aug, 11am (completed)

South Doodlakine - Tue 28 Aug, 9am to Thu 13 Sep, 11am

Watheroo - Tue 18 Sep, 9am to Fri 28 Sep, 11am

The Newdegate Doppler radar went into service in October 2016, South Doodlakine in February 2017, and Watheroo in June, 2017.

Six new APIs released

The eConnected Grainbelt Project is excited to announce the release of six Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

Two of these APIs were previously available and have now been upgraded – the Weather API and the Radar API

• Weather API – DPIRD manages 175 weather stations in WA. These weather stations provide timely, relevant and local weather data to assist growers and regional communities make more informed decisions. This data includes air temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind speed, wind direction, and most stations also measure incoming solar radiation.

Radar API – DPIRD is providing this data through a shared collaboration with the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM). This API provides users with rainfall estimates at a 1km2 resolution for the areas of the Grainbelt covered.

The remaining four newly released APIs include: Soils, Pestfax Map, Science and Organisms.

Soils - this API looks at the different percentages of ‘soil super groups’ that are likely to be in a certain area. This API provides an aggregation of the soils, as to what soils are probably found in a particular spot.

• Pestfax Map – The Pestfax Map shows occurrences of pests and diseases that are reported throughout Western Australia. This API is a reporting service for pests and diseases threatening crops and pastures.

Science – This API provides the ‘back end’ to the Rainfall to Date, Potential Yield, and Soil Water tools on the DPIRD website.

Organisms –The Organisms API opens access to the Western Australian Organism List (WAOL), which provides the status of organisms which have been categorised under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 (BAM Act).

More details about each of these APIs may be found on our API webpage.

Team Dex took out the main award at the 2018 AgHack.

AgHack a big success

Late last month, the eConnected Grainbelt Project sponsored a successful Hackathon (AgHack) event, which was jointly organised and run by DPIRD and the Ministry of Data (MoD).

More than 70 people participated, at Spacecubed in the CBD, and the teams worked on data, including DPIRD’s new and upgraded Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

Minister for Water; Innovation and ICT Hon Dave Kelly MLA opened the three-day event and Minister for Regional Development; Agriculture and Food Hon Alannah MacTiernan MLC awarded the prizes.

The winning team – Dex – worked on a biosecurity challenge ‘Identifying and predicting pests to protect WA’. The winners were mentored by DPIRD’s Rob Emery.

The winning team will now be provided with support to take their ideas to market in Western Australia, and potentially throughout Australia and even internationally.

Dr Mark Sweetingham (DPIRD), Darren Gibbon (DPIRD) and Darren Hughes (GRDC) formed the judging panel.

Winners: Team Dex took out the main award at the 2018 AgHack and are pictured with mentor Rob Emery, of DPIRD (far right).

YFIG improve local rainfall data collection

Yuna Farm Improvement Group (YFIG) has recently established a localised rain gauge network where farmers have self-installed 50 Davis tipping bucket rain gauges across the Yuna area using a long life battery powered logger and 3G telemetry.

The farmers can access their data via phone app, online software and email alerts/ reports.

The group's pooled buying power means they can achieve efficiencies in manufacturing, logistics and support.

Kieran Coupe from Outpost Central spoke about the rain gauge network at a YFIG Crop Establishment Field Walk in June, which was supported by the eConnected Grainbelt Project.

He said that a coordinated deployment of rain gauges allowed users within the group to benefit from seeing data from gauges on neighbouring properties, and within the wider region - a kind of 'crowd sourcing' approach to rainfall data collection.

There is also the potential to combine the data from the localised rainfall network with the upgraded Doppler radar network data to develop accurate and high resolution rainfall maps across the Yuna area.

NETWORK: A rain gauge purchased by YFIG.

Give us a shout-out on social media

If you’re not already following our eConnected Grainbelt Project Twitter and Facebook pages, visit our respective DPIRD Grains social media pages and give them the thumbs up!

Re-post or re-tweet your favourites. Or, if you have something you’d like to add to your page, why not give the project a shout-out using the following tagline - #eConnected.


For any queries, please contact your local eConnected Grainbelt Project Development Officer.

Who is my local Development Officer?

• Megan Abrahams, (08) 9956 8540, megan.abrahams@dpird.wa.gov.au
Responsible for: Mingenew Irwin Group and Yuna Farm Improvement Group

• Tanya Kilminster, (08) 9081 3128, tanya.kilminster@dpird.wa.gov.au
Responsible for: MADFIG and FEAR

• Alison Lacey, (08) 9881 0232, alison.lacey@dpird.wa.gov.au
Responsible for: Corrigin Farm Improvement Group and Facey Group

• Jeremy Lemon, (08) 9892 8413, jeremy.lemon@dpird.wa.gov.au
Responsible for: Southern Dirt and Stirlings to Coast Farmers

• Brendan Nicholas, (08) 9083 1110, brendan.nicholas@dpird.wa.gov.au
Responsible for: South East Premium Wheat Growers Assoc

• Keith Ohlsen, (08) 9821 3200, keith.ohlsen@dpird.wa.gov.au
Responsible for: Wheatbelt NRM

• Janette Pratt, (08) 9651 0531, janette.pratt@dpird.wa.gov.au
Responsible for: West Midlands Group



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