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Technology offers real-time support during frost events

Frost damage in field pea pods shrivels the seed inside.
Photo: Pulse Australia

Resources to help manage impacts from frost events is now available digitally, with delivery mediated by joining a Facebook page.

The Better Frost Decisions Facebook group links growers to specialist advice in real time as frost events are occurring. Currently included is assistance from three agronomists who are on standby to provide expert assistance and decision support.

In addition to the Facebook group, the program also produces the Better Frost Decisions newsletters and podcasts.

The novel extension program is targeted to the southern region and is managed by program manager Tanja Morgan at Mallee Sustainable Farming (MSF). Ms Morgan says that the idea is to provide step-by-step support in real time that aggregates and draws on best-practice frost management practices normally delivered through workshops.

“This idea takes what is traditionally presented at a frost response workshop program but breaks it down into daily management actions,” she says.

“As frost identification is not obvious immediately after a frost and becomes more apparent over time, we wanted to repackage all that information in ways that activates when the advice is needed most. A digital platform allows us to do that.”

The Facebook group is open to the public, allowing anyone to join at any time. It also aims to create a community that can provide personal support during difficult times.

“Frost events are not just impacting yield potential; they can be traumatic and stressful events that can impact people’s resilience and their ability to respond,” Ms Morgan says.

“The digital delivery means we can run Facebook Live events that provide decision support on a daily basis – structured in manageable portions. The platform concurrently keeps people connected to the resources they need as they are needed.”

Development of the digital platform got underway in 2020 and has evolved over time and will likely continue to do so.

The additional resources – the newsletters and podcasts – further help to showcase work in the frost space, including grower case studies (which are featured in the March issue) and insights from agronomic research.

Importantly, climate alerts are built into the system. This includes scanning Bureau of Meteorology outlooks for frost risks and raising awareness of these risks.

That means support is provided for the entire arc of frost impacts: from predicting their occurrence through to economic modelling that can help decide the best option for frost-affected crops. Options include cutting for hay, grazing or harvesting.

Growers in frost-prone areas of the southern region are invited to the join the group by bookmarking the following resources:

More information: Tanja Morgan,

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