Five reasons why...

...using CropMonitor Pro makes sense for growers and agronomists

The application of precision technology has regularly been touted as the solution to improving agricultural production. However, with so many products on the market, deciding which tools to use to support pesticide application decision making is becoming a real challenge. 

Building on the successful CropMonitor program, CropMonitor Pro is a partnership between CHAP and Fera Science to enhance the existing regional service, used routinely by more than 3,000 individuals, into a field-level support tool that can help growers decide which pesticides to apply and the optimum time to do so. 

The tool has been in development since 2017 and in recent months has been trialled with growers and agronomists to work out how it can best support on-farm practices. As part of the trial, we conducted interviews with selected participants to discover why they are choosing to use CropMonitor Pro and have compiled a top five. Check out the following to find out why using CropMonitor Pro makes sense for growers and agronomists…

1 Saving growers’ time

CropMonitor Pro brings together weather, soil, pathogen reports and crop growth stage to accurately predict the likelihood of disease outbreak on a given field. If the application of pesticides is recommended, the tool indicates product choice decisions based on weighting.

 2 Making life easier

Unlike other decision support tools, CropMonitor Pro focuses on convenience and provides a simple traffic light system to easily identify which pathogens are most likely to cause problems on farm. The system is also finalising an API to enable integration into third party software so users can store all reports in a single location. 

3 Access to world-leading predictive models

We’re proud of the worldleading research capability of our development partner Fera Science – so much so that we publish all of our data, including the percentage of false alarm events. The system uses local weather data split into a 2km x 2km grid pattern (>39,000 grid cells across the UK!) to provide disease risk forecasts for up to four days into the future. Our rates of false negative alerts are low – less than 5% in most foliar disease models. Previous market research indicates that models need >75% accuracy in order to encourage uptake – all models used on CropMonitor Pro have >85% accuracy and are based on up to 18 years of field data. 

4 Maximising the (triple) bottom line

With so many changes happening with basic farm payments and the wider UK regulatory environment, growers are having to balance crop performance with environmental stewardship to maximise profitability. Use of CropMonitor Pro for wheat producers has been shown to save an average of one fungicide spray per crop per season – generating an average farm saving of £1,680 from reduced fungicide costs and £4,704 from wheat yield increases. In addition to increased profitability, decision support tools can benefit the wider environment and may play a role in in the DEFRA ELM scheme currently under development. 

 5 Fully independent

Funded by Innovate UKCropMonitor Pro is led by CHAP – a non-profit organisation set up to support the UK agri-food sector to become more resilient and sustainable. There are no hidden agendas and no add-on sales  what you see is what you get! 

Launching in September, CropMonitor Pro will be available as a standalone platform to support grower needs. 

Want to learn more? Visit CropMonitor Pro today and register for updates! 

Appendix 

 Cost Savings: 

  • Saving of an average of one fungicide spray per crop per season
  • Crops currently receiving an average of 3.6 sprays per crop
  • Average fungicide spray costs of £30/ha (not including machinery and labour costs)
  • Average farm savings of £1,680 (based on average of 56 ha wheat)
  • An average yield increase of 0.6 t/ha due to better timing
  • Average increase in yield of 33.6t (£4,704@£140/t)  

Wider Benefits:  

  • Promote use of integrated pest management, particularly varietal resistance  
  • Decrease in environmental impact  
  • Improved mitigation against development of pesticide resistance
  • Improved duration of product efficacy
  • Greater resilience against climate change and erratic weather events
  • Provide evidence to justify pesticide use when necessary
  • Assist targeting of biopesticides  

If you have any questions about CropMonitor Pro or working with CHAP, please send us an email using the enquiries form at the bottom of our homepage.


Please note, the opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of CHAP.