Industry News

Grazing decision support tool goes mobile.

App a first for FutureBeef and north Australia graziers

Forget the pen and paper, GPS, camera and land type sheets – a smartphone and a new free Stocktake Plus app are all a grazier needs to determine stocking rates and carrying capacity in any paddock.

The Stocktake Plus app was developed after extensive industry consultation by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) with funding from Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA). It is designed to be a practical, work-anywhere (including outside telephone range), decision support tool.

Promoted through the FutureBeef Program for Northern Australiawith program partners DAFF, Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries, Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia and MLA, the app is now available for use by all northern Australia beef producers.

MLA’s NRM Project Manager Cameron Allan explained that 25% of producers are now on mobile devices and that is rapidly growing.

“With the exponential growth in uptake of mobile technology, we realise there is an opportunity to put practical tools into the pockets of producers so they have ready access to critical information when and where they need it, Mr Allan said.

“The Stocktake Plus app puts a property’s pasture records at your fingertips. The app gives you the ability to make informed on-the-spot decisions about stocking rates and paddock management – these critical to ensure longer term condition and productivity of the grazing business.”

DAFF extension officer Jane Pryor led the development of the app, in conjunction with collaborator and beef industry consultant, Steve Banney.

“For a grazier standing in his or her paddock, the app uses GPS technology to assess and report the land type,” Ms Pryor said.

“Then, through a guided process, a grazier can use the app to monitor their soil, pasture (quality and quantity) and woodlands to come up with a recommended long-term carrying capacity and a seasonal, or shorter-term, forage budget – or both.

“The app has a number of functions that can be used independently or together, such as tools to undertake a forage budget, monitor land condition, track stock numbers, and keep rainfall records.”

Ms Pryor said the design of the app took into account feedback from graziers on what functionalities it should include.

“The Stocktake Plus app has the ability to store enterprise-specific information across sites and years, email reports and is securely backed up on the Stocktake Plus server,” she said.

“This is a secure environment that is not accessible to anyone but the user, but if a smartphone is lost or broken, the information is not lost.”

A Stocktake Plus website supporting the app will serve as the platform for users to register an account, back-up their information and feature ‘how-to’ videos and factsheets so they get the most out of the app.