There are a number of freely available mobile and web-based apps that are particularly useful to those operating in South Africa’s agricultural sector. If you haven’t used one of these apps already, we suggest you take a look!
Agtag is an electronic magazine app for South African Agriculture. It can be downloaded from your preferred app store, and after a simple registration process, you will have the latest agricultural news at your fingertips. You are free to select which news articles you would like to view (Crops, Livestock, Fruit, Vegetables, Water & Soil, Game & Hunting, etc.), as well as your preferred language (English / Afrikaans).
CapeFarmMapper is essentially an online maps platform developed by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture. This online mapping tool helps farmers with spatial information queries, environmental management and decision making. It is an information-rich resource. Various map “layers” can be switched on an off, depending on what you would like to view. An example of some of the layers are:
- Western Cape Surveyor-General farm and erven boundaries
- Agricultural infrastructure
- Crop specific data (crop census, etc.)
- Livestock information (density by type, etc.)
- Soil and geology
- Monthly climate data (rainfall, temperatures, etc.)
Fruitlook is a user-friendly platform that presents a range of information useful to farmers. The information is extracted from remote-sensing (satellite) data through a series of algorithms. This information is currently free for users, costs subsidised by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WC DoA), but it will step up to a commercial model in the future. Fruitlook can provide users with information at a weekly frequency and at a high resolution of 20m x 20m. The information accessible through Fruitlook includes:
- Biomass Production (incl. leaf area index (LAI) and Vegetation Index (NDVI))
- Evapotranspiration (actual evapotranspiration; evapotranspiration deficit; and biomass water use efficiency)
- Plant nitrogen content (Nitrogen in leaf; Nitrogen in upper leaf layer)
Using this information, farmers can operate more resource-efficiently, with respect to managing plant stress; water use and the application of nitrogen.
Confronting Climate Change (or CCC in short) is an industry initiative in its 8th year. The initiative helps farms, packhouses, wineries and exporters to calculate the carbon footprint of agricultural commodities. Every year CCC hosts workshops throughout South Africa to support the use of the CCC carbon calculator. The initiative has won various awards, and no other country can boast such a comprehensive carbon footprint tool developed specifically for their fruit and wine industries. Truly world class, like our fruit and wine!
The WWF Water Risk Filter is an easy to use and informative tool that helps you assess all the relevant aspects of water risk. Risk ratings are assigned according to basin related risk and commodity related risk. Basin related risk is assigned according to geo-coded ‘background information’ (i.e. risk is assigned according to your GPS coordinates). Commodity related risk is assigned according to a series of operation-specific questions, which address water use; land management practices; level of engagement with local stakeholders; application of potential contaminants (fertilizers, pesticides); water management plans, etc. The water risk information is presented graphically under three headings and according to basin related and commodity related risk:
- Physical risk
- Scarcity (quantity)
- Pollution (quality)
- Impact on ecosystem
- Regulatory risk
- Reputation risk