25 July 1997

Autumn start for new field record scheme

FIELD records which meet standards required by a range of quality assurance schemes will be available this autumn.

The computer-based Crop Passport service from national agchem distributor Profarma is part of a new range of precision services under the ProCare banner.

The system has access to Profarmas Select trials series to help agronomists make the most appropriate recommendations, says Profarma agronomist Peter Ingram.

The trials started in 1994 and consist of more than 10,000 plots on a wide range of soil types. At the press of a button the computer matches the farm problem to the closest one in the Select database, and suggests a recommendation based on the best result.

It is also linked to manufacturers data on least cost options, expected control and future implications of that control. "The system is automatically upgraded, so growers have access to the latest information," says Mr Ingram.

Consultants can override the system and give their own recommendations. But however it is sourced, the recommendation is recorded onto a field sheet which identifies the grower, farm and field, who made the recommendations, and his/her qualifications. Label information, like harvest interval, latest permitted growth stage, watercourse restrictions and time before rain, as well as cost, can be included.

Additional operator sheets ensure accurate application.

, by translating dose rates into the number of spray tanks needed to treat the area, and the amount of chemical to add to each. Product caveats such as watercourse information are included, as well as the type of clothing required. Automatic updating of farm field records and stock levels onto the farms own computer system are planned. For now, field sheet information has to be inputted manually.

&#8226 Other services in the Procare package include GPS-based soil trace element analysis and soil nematode mapping, wheat bulb fly egg counts, tissue analysis, and mini weather stations to allow better targeting of inputs.