Maria Eugênia Richter1, David Phelan1, Matthew Harrison2, Geoffrey Dean3, Georgina Pengilley3, Sue Hinton3 and Caroline Mohammed1
1 Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, Private Bag 98, Sandy Bay TAS 7001, email@example.com
2 Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, P.O. Box 3523, Burnie TAS 7320,
3 Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, Locked Bag 1375, Launceston TAS 7250
Well-designed agricultural decision support tools (DS) equip farmers with a rapid and easy way to compare multiple scenarios as well as the influence of different management strategies on a crop production. These tools assist in establishing a framework of risk, with simulations incorporating climate scenarios and management actions, such as fertiliser rates, sowing time, row spacing, and irrigation regimes. When used in conjunction with soil and climate characteristics, biophysical model-based DS tools provide information that complements farmer experience and establishes a framework for risk management given prevailing climate characteristics as determined by location. Prior to this work being undertaken, no CropARM (http://www.armonline.com.au) data was available for Tasmania. Additionally, no sites currently available in CropARM allow users to compare rainfed and irrigated wheat crops, which will likely form the basis of decisions made by many Tasmanian wheat growers. This study collated observed data from 27 sites in Tasmania, from the period 1981 to 2011; APSIM was parameterised with these field observations and the subsequent scenario simulations have populated CropARM. Wheat cultivars simulated include Brennan, Isis, Mackeller, Revenue, Tennant (winter types) and Kellalac (spring type). Soil parameters were obtained from both field observations and the APSoil database, climate data for each site was accessed historical data. The APSIM simulations were compared with the observed field data and demonstrated reliable model parameterisation, with evaluation statistics close to ideal. Approximately 200,000 simulations were undertaken and incorporated in the CropARM database for wheat cropping systems across Tasmania, enabling agronomic scenario analysis for wheat producers.