Yes, the project or initiative has been established for more than 2 years.
Team - who worked on the project/initaitve
Agriculture Victoria GrowNotes™ Alert team consisting of Kellyanne Harris, Christine Fuller, Lucinda Barty, Chris Pittock, Johanna Couchman and Jodie Harrison.
GRDC - Thomas McCue
GIMAF - David Hudson
Program Manager Grains Industry Networks
GrowNotes™ Alert Project team
GrowNotes™ Alert Project team
Overview - Provide a summary to introduce the project or initiative
GrowNotes™ Alert is a free subscriber-based system that delivers high-priority alerts for pest, weed, and disease threats straight to subscribers the way they want it (SMS, email, app, Twitter) and allows subscribers to personalise the alerts they receive by crop type and location. Critically, the GrowNotes™ Alert system is two-way, allowing growers and advisors to upload photos on the spot, and feed relevant and immediate information back to our extensive range of disease, pest and weed experts across Australia. Subscribers are given a free macro lens to capture crop issues up close and in detail. GrowNotes™ Alert can also be followed on Twitter.
The GrowNotes™ Alert system was jointly developed by the Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) and Agriculture Victoria.
The system was officially launched on September 14, 2016 and gained instant traction and exposure within the industry and currently has 748 direct subscribers and 569 followers via the dedicated Twitter accounts. Advisers represent 42% of subscibers and on average after receiving an alert extends this information to 10.5 growers in their network.
By delivering information directly to the users on where a crop issue is located, the severity and how to manage it, GrowNotes™ Alert gives growers the chance to act before an issue takes hold in their crop. Not only does this save potential yield and profit, but the surveillance aspect of the system aids in keeping markets open to Australian growers through 'evidence of absence' data.
Detail the actions implemented as part of the project or initative.
A National Working Party was established to advise project management as well as regular engagement with subject experts, researchers, and other specialists. A user needs analysis was conducted to inform the design, development and configuration of the GrowNotes™ Alert system.
A vendor was identified and contracted to develop the GrowNotes™ Alert system as a service, and to securely house data. A pilot was conducted with identified users to test the GrowNotes™ Alert system during March 2016. The pilot demonstrated that the system was operational and capable for delivering tailored alerts. The system was strategically launched ahead of schedule to service biosecurity emergency to an outbreak of Russian wheat aphid (exotic pest) in June 2016 and officially launched in September 2016.
Triage and standard operating processes for the creation, management and delivery of notifications have been developed in partnership with subject experts and industry. These procedures ensure that responsibilities are clear, that the threshold for creating a notification will be consistent between regions and with regard to timing, resulting in high value to subscribers and integrity of the system.
A comprehensive communication and engagement campaign has been undertaken by the GrowNotes™ Alert team. This included extensive use of social media as well as mainstream media channels.
Detail the approach that was taken to implement the project or initative.
Establishing and maintaining networks with core industry personnel is key to the success of GrowNotes™ Alert. The project has strong connections with existing pest, disease and weeds projects such as eXtensionAUS, National Pest Information Network (NPIN) teams, The Beatsheet, CropSafe, CESAR, SA pathology group, PestFacts, PestFax, MyPestGuide and USQ Centre for Crop Health. Similarly, a generic email contact for the GrowNotes™ Alert project manages the risk of personal contacts being central to timely communication.
A partnership has arisen with the Grains Industry Market Access Forum (GIMAF), a Federally-funded body with the national reach required for success of the GrowNotes™ Alert system. David Hudson (Project Leader for GIMAF) continues to engage with grower groups and industry in promoting GrowNotes™ Alert, and encouraging inbound surveillance reporting of healthy and of disease, pest or weed affected crops.
The team have been in constant contact with the GRDC webmaster to ensure the web signup portal and webpage are kept as up-to-date as possible and the user-experience is constantly improved and streamlined to maximise the ease of signing up to, and using the system.
Evaluation of the GrowNotes™ Alert pilot and launch was conducted to examine the applicability of the GrowNotes™ Alert system for the Australian grains industry, to investigate the benefits received by those who choose to opt-in for the system, to gain clear understanding of the resource and capability requirements and identification of barriers to adoption. The evaluation has shown that the GrowNotes™ Alert system has gained a high level of credibility as a key information source amongst the consultants and grain growers who have subscribed to the system in a short time frame and showed significant potential of the system to contribute to market access issues.
As we are working in the field of digital technology, innovation and moving with the technology has been a part of our approach. This has meant maintaining constant contact with the developer of the app (Whispir) and upgrading/ adding extras where necessary as well as revising the original requirements of the app to fit with the abilities of the platform.
Was there organisational/industry or other resistance to the initiative? If so, detail the actions taken to overcome resistance to the project or initiative.
Maintaining the integrity of the project also meant ensuring the system did not compete with other, similar services, but instead built on and complemented them. This needed to be clearly communicated to overcome any resistance from these similar services, encouraging them instead to collaborate with and utilise the GrowNotes™ Alert channel for the benefit of the grains industry.
Initially, it was vital to the success of the GrowNotes™ Alert project that all collaborating organisations were reassured that there was a verified standard of practice procedure in place to mitigate risks and ensure all alerts had been approved and reviewed by the appropriate experts and thoroughly investigated prior to release.
The formal partnership and support with both GIMAF and the GRDC will continue to strengthen the uptake and use of GrowNotes™ Alert. The project will continue to broaden the support base of GrowNotes™ Alert system, to include grains industry organisations with a vested interest in crop pest and disease surveillance as well as market access. The aim is to have essentially a symbiotic/ mutually beneficial relationship with these organisations The team have recently gained agreement from Plant Health Australia's Grains Biosecurity Officers to identify some ‘partners’ of high priority pests which could be used as target specimen submissions into GrowNotes Alerts as well as promoting the system across their networks.
Detail the follow up or response to the project or initative by the organisation /industry /sector. For example has it been extended for a further year, or has the scope been expanded?
In addition to the original scope of the project, The Grains Industry Market Access Forum (GIMAF) has received funding to enhance the uptake and use of GrowNotes™ Alert via a formal partnership under MOU. GIMAF believes there is demand to expand and evolve GrowNotes™ Alert further to include raising awareness of broader market access issues, not just those relating to diseases, pests and weeds. Data from GrowNotes™ Alert, when collated and incorporated into the Plant Health Australia central database (AUSPestCheck), will also assist Australian biosecurity staff when liaising with their foreign quarantine counterparts as evidence proof of meeting international requirements, which will be easier to identify and prove.
The GrowNotes™ Alert system was also strategically launched ahead of schedule to service a biosecurity emergency - an outbreak of Russian wheat aphid (exotic pest). Not only did this provide an effective means of disseminating information about the exotic pest to growers previously unfamiliar with it, but more subscribers and Twitter followers were gained earlier.
Vertebrate pest alerts were not in the original scope of alerts to be covered but were added later on with the first alert ( a mouse alert) sent out in April 2017. This came in response to a much higher than average population of mice that was having a significant impact on crops in the southern region and harming the profits of growers who had limited information on the spread of the issue and management options. It was also identified in a survey conducted by the GIMAF (March 2017) that alerts about vertebrate pests such as mice were highly desired by users of the GrowNotes™ Alert system.
Please provide 2 references being the beneficiaries or people that experienced the change (as a result of the initiative). Details to be provided should include:
4. Phone number
6. Short description (up to 250 words) of association with the nominated diversity initiative eg as a beneficiary, experiencing the outcome, etc.
- David Hudson, GIMAF Project Manager & SGA Solutions Pty. Ltd. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, 0418 951 479
A partnership has arisen with the Grains Industry Market Access Forum (GIMAF), a Federally-funded body with the GrowNotes™ Alert system. Evaluation was conducted by GIMAF (March 2017) on the pilot and launch of the GrowNotes™ Alert system and has resulted in GIMAF receiving funding from the Federal Government to enhance the uptake and use of GrowNotes Alert via a formal partnership under MOU. GIMAF have been integral in engaging with grower groups and industry in promoting GrowNotes™ Alert, and encouraging inbound surveillance reporting of healthy and of disease, pest or weed affected crops.
- Tom McCue, Manager Business Intelligence, Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), Mobile 0429 046 007, E-mail email@example.com.
The GrowNotes™ Alert system has been jointly developed by the GRDC and Agriculture Victoria. Tom MCue is the GRDC project manager overseeing the development, implementation and reporting of this project. The development of this system was identified as a need by the GRDC.
What outcomes have been achieved against overall program or organisational performance? Using metrics specify these outcomes, for example financial, growth, policy achievement, performance or capabciltiy uplift?
GrowNotes™ Alert operates across multiple platforms, with alerts deliverd by email, text message or voicemail depending on the needs and capabilities of the individual user. Innovation and the uptake of new technologies, however, has been encouraged throughout the project with GrowNotes™ Alert not only being targeted at competent users of smart devices but encouraging those who are not, to learn and utilise them.
Similarly, subscribers to the system range from young to old, from farming apprentices right up to accomplished farmers as well as chemical suppliers, research agronomists and relevant organisational members. With the diversity of subscribers to the system reflective of the diversity within the farming community -GrowNotes™ Alert users incorporate all aspects of farm decision making, inputs and outputs.
The GrowNotes™ Alert team itself comprises mostly women, diversifying from the traditionally male-dominated skew within the agriculture industry.