16 October 1998

Agronomy made easy PC

Interest in the Internet is

sweeping the nation. Not to

be left out ADAS launched

an on-line agronomy service

earlier this year. John Tearle

visited two growers to find

out how helpful it is

ADASS Agronomy On-line service uses the Internet to supply detailed technical and business information direct to farm computer screens. It aims to help growers devise their own agronomy plans and refine farm business planning.

"Many growers today can competently carry out their own crop walking," says Peter Griffith, Wolverhampton-based ADAS consultant responsible for developing the service. "But to make the most effective decisions they require rapid access to independent advice and information."

That is just what Agronomy On-Line offers. It includes strategic advice to help long-term crop management planning and tactical advice to guide daily husbandry decisions. It also offers forecasts, business management information and an interactive flow of information between local growers and ADAS consultants.

Recent strategic advice included interpreted results from variety trials, with further detailed information available using key point links. All the information can be read on screen, down-loaded onto the farm computer or printed off.

Tactical advice this autumn includes herbicide choice, with examples of mixes and rates available this year, and the factors affecting their selection. Linked to isoproturon, for example, are details of its strengths and weaknesses, its weed spectrum and environmental considerations.

"We have taken Agronomy On-line beyond solely supplying information. We provide management tools such as a seed rate calculator and a diflufenican calculator, which helps the farmer find the cheapest product, or mix, to give the desired combination of DFF and IPU at the right level of active ingredient per hectare," says Mr Griffiths.

The service costs £1200 a year.

AGRONOMYON-LINE

&#8226 Strategic: In-depth interpreted R&D results to aid crop planning.

&#8226 Tactical: Agrochemical and fertiliser product information to achieve appropriate responses at reduced cost.

&#8226 Forecasts: Advanced warning of potential problems.

&#8226 Business management: Reports and financial bulletins to help strategic planning.

&#8226 Interactive: E-mail for contact with ADAS consultant and other farmers.