Plant scientists at the Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research (EIAR) are now gathering data using a smartphone app developed in Australia as part of a project jointly funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) to improve their sorghum breeding program.
The app, called Fieldscorer, was developed by researchers from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries over the past five years as a simple way to automate data collection. As ACIAR notes on its blog.
In 2014 the Ethiopian researchers recorded more than 160,000 sorghum datapoints using the system: this is five times more information than was typically being recorded in the sorghum breeding program. The information is also available for analysis immediately. Increased data and early availability will accelerate the breeding program.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.