Wednesday 29 November 2017

Useful Farming Technology Apps and Websites

Technology – there are those who embrace it with open arms, and then there are those who don’t… but love it or hate it, there are some very good pieces of technology that could be extremely useful for farmers wanting help with environmental compliance, or even just some advice and support.  And, with the increased need to be accountable and “doing things right”, these are some of the technology tools and resources that I have come across in my day job that I thought were worth a mention. 

Riparian Planner

This is an online tool developed by DairyNZ.  It is a step by step process to design, budget and prioritise water management on farm.  It is extremely user friendly, and a good starting point if you are considering riparian planting on your farm.  This is a useful tool for all types of farms.  The web page address is as follows:

Check-It Bucket Test app

This is available for both Apple and Android devices via the App Store or Google Play Store.  The app walks you through an annual performance assessment of your irrigation system, provides the results instantly to your device and e-mails a final report to you.  This is a great way to check whether your irrigation system is performing as you expect.  Is water being applied evenly?  Are you putting on what your control box says you are putting on?  You do need to own a few buckets to carry out the test, but the insight into your irrigation systems performance is well worth the trip to town to invest in the buckets.  Some irrigation schemes do have buckets that you can borrow for this purpose, so ask around too. 

Soil Moisture Monitoring

Soil moisture monitoring equipment is by no means new technology, but the amount of it now on the market has increased substantially and understanding what is the right tool for you can be difficult to work out. You must choose the right equipment for your soil, land use activities and irrigation system type, and then locate, install and calibrate (if necessary) it correctly. Accessing, managing and understanding the data is also important. If soil moisture monitoring is to be successful, each of these aspects has to be carefully worked through.  Irrigation New Zealand has developed a resource book for this very topic and it can be found here:

Online GIS systems

For those of us here in Canterbury, Canterbury Maps is an amazing resource.  Not only can you create farm maps, but it can be used to search for information about any property, consent information, bore information, and any other relevant information that you may need such as nutrient allocation zones, the location of wetlands or Runanga sensitive areas.  This can be found here:

Other councils do have online GIS systems, but none are quite to the level of Canterbury Maps.  But check out what your local council does have.  Understanding what is of interest and/or significance on and around your farm is key these days. 
FDE Calculator app

Dairy NZ has developed an app to allow you to work out how to manage your Farm Dairy Effluent (FDE).  You can easily calculate nutrient loadings and application rates, therefore enabling application of effluent with greater precision.  It can be used for diluted dairy effluent as well as for slurry tankers and muck spreaders.  This is also available for both Apple and Android devices via the App Store or Google Play Store.

I hope you find this information useful, and please let me know of any others that you think might be worth checking out.

 By Keri Johnston, Irricon Resource Solutions
Phone 0272 202 425 or email