A powerful crop management tool has been launched to help farmers, businesses and governments make better decisions about water management, irrigation and climate risks.
With the return of water restrictions in the UK and severe drought affecting many parts of Europe, it is more important than ever to understand how food can be grown while minimising pressures on freshwater resources and ecosystems. The University of Manchester’s Agriculture, Water and Climate Group has developed AquaPlan, an interactive web tool that allow users to quickly assess how crop yields and water demands are affected by different management practices and climate scenarios anywhere in the world.
Senior lecturer in water-food security Dr Tim Foster said: “Crop models are incredibly powerful tools to help agriculture adapt to growing pressures posed by water scarcity and climate change.
“However, these models require a lot of time and specialist expertise to implement which has often limited their use outside of research projects. AquaPlan provides a practical tool to overcome these challenges, putting state-of-the-art modelling tools in the hands of farmers, practitioners, and policymakers working to improve food and water security globally.”
"AquaPlan provides a practical tool to overcome these challenges, putting state-of-the-art modelling tools in the hands of farmers, practitioners, and policymakers working to improve food and water security globally.”
AquaPlan combines proven scientific modelling tools, automated data integration, cloud processing and an intuitive interface to support real-world agricultural water management and climate adaptation. It leverages an open-source crop-water model, AquaCrop-OSPy, developed over the past 10 years in collaboration with the Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.
The result is a powerful tool that provides farmers, agronomists and water managers with crop modeling capabilities previously only accessible to highly trained researchers and scientists. The tool is suited for regions where water is a limiting factor in crop production, an increasing problem facing food systems all around the world.
In the coming months, the team will be adding more features and would like to hear from potential users. Get in touch by emailing email@example.com.
Dr Foster has posted a blog giving more detailed information about AquaPlan.