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Agronomy on-line - a pilot study to evaluate the use of the internet for real time crop information - AR0905

The primary objective is to evaluate the use of the internet as a means of supplying ‘real-time’ applied research information in an on-line agronomy centre to aid on-farm decision making throughout the cropping season. This will be achieved by setting-up two ‘shop windows’ of MAFF and HGCA funded projects at two geographically dispersed demonstration field sites. Benchmark information such as crop condition, weed and disease ingress and weather data will be reported weekly on a dedicated agronomy on-line area accessible through the HGCA website ( The numbers of visitors to the sites, an interactive message board and on-line evaluation forms will be used to evaluate effective uptake of key messages.

Recent initiatives by MAFF and HGCA have been aimed at increasing the transfer of key messages from research projects back to the farming industry. The uptake of these messages, such as effective use of fungicides, appropriate timing and input levels of crop nutrients and weed control strategies, need to be taken on-board by farmers in order to maintain yields and hence profitability. Although face-to-face meetings of researchers with farmers to put across messages can be effective they are costly, time consuming and only target a relatively small number of farmers. Increasingly, the internet is being exploited as a means of communicating information to a large number of people at a cost and timeliness suitable to each individuals need.

This project therefore is focused on evaluating the internet as a means of transferring key technical messages to farmers on a ‘real-time’ basis to aid on-farm decision making.
1. Set-up a dedicated website - Agronomy on-line –accessible via the HGCA website – www.

2. Layout and manage demonstration plots at two field sites.

3. Write protocols for demonstration trial plots in collaboration with researchers from research institutes.

4. Collate data, images and text for uploading on to website

5. Promote website at technology transfer events and through the farming press.

6. Assess the potential for using the internet for the dissemination of in-field technical information to growers. End0user reaction will be evaluate by monitoring uptake of messages and usefulness of website through message board and on-line evaluation forms.

7. To carry out an economic evaluation of benefits from the interaction of several key areas of research and the use of the internet to disseminate the results. The findings of the pilot project will be presented to MAFF in a summary report with recommendations for future developments.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Agronomy on-line - trials4u2c   (1299k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2000

To: 2001

Cost: £73,431
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Home Grown Cereals Authority
Arable Farming              
Crop Improvement              
Sustainable Production              
Fields of Study
Arable Crops