63-5 Agroclimate Decision Support System: From Web-Based Solutions to Mobile Apps.
The AgroClimate (http://www.agroclimate.org) web-based information and decision support system was developed to help the agricultural industry in the southeastern USA reduce risks associated with climate variability. It includes climate related information and dynamic application tools that interact with a climate and crop database system. Information available includes seasonal climate monitoring and forecast combined with risk management tools for a range of crops, forestry, pasture, and livestock. The system was developed to allow easy expansion of topic areas, number of commodities, and risk management tools available for users at different locations in the Southeast. AgroClimate is currently being replicated and adapted by growers’ cooperatives in Paraguay and Brazil. More recently we realized that the expansion of mobile phones to agricultural areas is causing a revolution in the way information is provided to farmers around the world including in developing countries where Information and communications technologies (ICTs) have spread rapidly in the recent years. As a result we started developing AgroClimate applications for smartphone devices that target decisions made at the field and as so require simple and updated information. Our goal is to integrate web-based tools that target strategic decisions with mobile phone apps that are applicable to mostly weather-driven tactical decisions. Our experience shows that producers are more likely to engage in strategies to reduce seasonal and long-term climate change risks when are also offered solutions based on weather monitoring and short-term weather forecast that offer simple information such as growing degree days and chill hours accumulation and advice on tasks such as irrigation scheduling and pesticide application.