AI-powered weather forecasting accuracy set to help local growers

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Growers could soon have tailored local weather forecasts directly at their fingertips through a ground-breaking program that leverages the cutting-edge capabilities of artificial intelligence and machine learning combined with traditional weather forecasting techniques.

Aimed at significantly enhancing the precision, quality, and usability of weather-related information, the $1.3M initiative, delivered through Hort Innovation and led by Jane’s Weather, is tailored to meet the specific needs of individual growers, considering their farming block, unique terrain, and operational requirements.

Hort Innovation chief executive Brett Fifield said the project heralds a new era in weather forecasting.

“Horticulture growers face the challenge of making crucial farming decisions based on generic weather forecasts that may not accurately reflect their specific location,” he said.

“Recognising this gap, this innovative project seeks to provide local weather predictions, empowering growers with the ability to make more informed decisions regarding frost management, spraying, irrigation, and pest and disease control, among other critical agricultural activities.

“Machine learning and artificial intelligence are the missing ingredient in solving the problem of what the weather will do next and will give growers the power of being even more accurate, more often.”

Jane’s Weather chief executive and meteorologist, Jane Bunn, said the project is underpinned by the latest technology.

“Traditional weather models are not accurate enough for the majority of production sites due to their distance from official weather stations,” Ms Bunn said.

“By applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to the data from current weather prediction models and local farm weather stations, we can significantly reduce forecasting error. This approach delivers more accuracy, more often, by learning from observations directly from the site, delivering superior results and therefore, superior business outcomes for our clients.”

The collaboration between Jane’s Weather and Hort Innovation will involve identifying and selecting a cohort of farming enterprises to build and test the functionality of the platform. This targeted approach ensures that the developed solutions are practical and meet the real-world needs of growers.

Mulgowie Fresh Agronomy Manager Andrew Johanson said the technology has significant potential.

“Having access to accurate, site-specific weather information will enable growers to make timely decisions that can positively impact our crop yield and quality. This is a major advancement for the horticulture industry, and it is exciting to be a part of it.”

For more information:
Hort Innovation

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