1 December 1995

New computer language for farming info

A COMMON language which will allow constant updating of background information held on farm computers is set to help arable farmers make even better input decisions.

"There is a huge wealth of information coming to farmers from a range of sources in an unstructured way," Silsoe Research Institutes Paul Biscoe said at FarmTech. "For example, variety information, trials results, weather conditions, and disease status reach farmers through many different routes and at different times."

The key is to merge the relevant information and focus it into a computer framework that will support farmer decision making, he explained.

DESSAC (Decision Support Systems for Arable Crops), a project funded by the Home-Grown Cereals Authority, MAFF and BBSRC aims to do just that. Silsoe Research Institute is co-ordinating the project, with ADAS and Morley Research Institute providing agronomic information and assessing farmers needs, said Dr Biscoe.

The first package will help growers apply the right type and amount of fungicide to winter wheat. It will supply software with up-to-date information on variety, weather, disease pressure, product availability and cost to aid grower choices, he explained.

"We expect to test this in the field in two years time."