New app to take the heat off farmers

The new CliMate app allows Australian farmers to make well-informed decisions about their farming operations at the touch of a button.

Users can quickly source information on daily rainfall, temperature and radiation data for their location, and spanning back 60 years.

The free app also provides seasonal forecasts based on current ENSO (El NiƱo-Southern Oscillation) conditions, calculates heat sums and estimates soil water and soil nitrate accumulation.

CliMate was developed by the national Managing Climate Variability (MCV) program to help farmers make sense of past climate statistics and forecasts for their own location, to better manage their business.

The App is available from iTunes for download on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. A web version is expected in March.

According to MCV Project Leader, Dr David Freebairn, CliMate has proven popular already.

"Since it was first loaded on iTunes in mid-December last year it has already been taken up by more than 1,300 people with no publicity," he said. "And the news is spreading fast so hopefully it will go viral."

Peter Holding, a farmer in south-east NSW with winter crips and wool lambs, has embraced CliMate and says the app helps him understand what's happening on his land.

"I find it very good for clarifying my vision of what I think is happening. As I get closer to sowing I will definitely be running the how wet /nitrogen section to see if my estimates compare with the App and maybe refine my final decisions," he said.

"The ability to try different scenarios very quickly and simply is a great way of improving my decision-making and understanding of the climate in our area."