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.