Decision Tools & Apps
As part of its technology transfer initiative, SASRI develops decision support tools to assist the sugarcane farmers in various aspects of their business. These products are largely available as computer desktop or web-based tools, but SASRI has now begun releasing some tools as smartphone applications.
CANESIM is a sugarcane crop simulation model driven by water, temperature and radiation. It requires soil water holding properties, daily weather data and management parameters as input. The model accounts for partial canopy conditions and soil water content using a single layer soil profile. SASRI has developed three separate tools that make use of the CANESIM model.
This is available both as a web-based and mobile phone application. It is a sugarcane simulation tool linked to the Canesim model and the full online SASRI weather database for simulating crop growth and water use for limited sets of inputs. Applications include cane yield, cane quality and water use benchmarking and limited yield forecasting.
This is a web-based sugarcane simulation tool linked to the full online SASRI weather and soil water data base for simulating crop growth and water use for registered users. Applications include cane yield, cane quality and water use benchmarking, real-time irrigation scheduling and yield forecasting.
The CANESIM crop forecasting system produces monthly forecasts of yield for the current season for 48 climate zones and 14 mill supply areas. It is available to registered users.
Those wishing to gain a detailed technical understanding of the Canesim model structure and all related equations should download a copy of THE CANESIM® SUGARCANE MODEL: SCIENTIFIC DOCUMENTATION.
SASRI has access to several automatic and manual weather stations across the sugar industry. All information gathered is stored in a weather database at SASRI. This information can be extracted in the form of maps, graphs or reports. Various levels of customisation can be applied to your selections.
This interactive web-based decision support tool uses SASRI trial data to recommend varieties based on region, soil potential and preferred cutting cycle. The visually appealing and user-friendly Variety Guide enables growers and Extension Specialists to extract selected information on specific varieties quickly and in a format that allows varieties to be compared easily.
A word of caution is necessary: while the guide provides valuable information for variety choice, the suitability of the recommended varieties for your specific area and conditions must be confirmed with your Extension Specialist.
StalkGro is a SASRI web application that estimates monthly cane and sucrose yield increments for a particular homogenous climate zone by using information about the crop’s irrigation status, TAM, crop cycle and harvest month.
It has been developed for the South African sugar industry and can be useful when conducting sugarcane yield estimation, mill planning, harvest scheduling, carryover field selection or chemical ripening.
The program makes use of a pre-generated dataset that was compiled using the DSSAT v4.5 Canegro Sugarcane model.
PurEst® is a smartphone application that estimates whole-stalk juice purity from Brix readings taken with a hand-held refractometer. PurEst® provides practical ripener recommendations based on the known juice purity efficacy thresholds of the various ripener chemicals. PurEst® can also assist with harvesting decisions by estimating RV and stalk moisture, which enable growers to prioritise fields according to harvest readiness.
For more information, see our information sheet: Determining crop maturity for purposes of cane quality management.
To try PurEst®, download the app from the Google Play Store or the i-Store.
An Excel tool used to determine the optimal ratoon cycle lengths based on user defined costs and schedule of operations from the previous crop, fallow period operations, planting and ratoon cycle operations and crop age scenarios.
LODGING REVENUE-LOSS CALCULATOR
A spreadsheet-based model has been developed to enable growers and their advisors to examine the effects of several factors following a cane lodging event that may contribute to revenue loss or direct costs increase. The model does not account for potential mill-related effects such as choking, slower milling performance and sugar colour issues resulting from the processing of lodged cane. The spreadsheet is capable of recalculating the losses for different harvest schedules with a view to minimising the impact of the lodging.
SASRI’s Mechanisation Reports are designed to assist farmers in establishing the total cost of operating individual machinesor complete machinery systems. These reports are updated with the latest costs on an annual basis.
The reports also contain a list of up-to-date website addresses for companies that supply products commonly used in the industry (such as tractors, harvesters, cane handling equipment and implements).
Please visit our Mechanisation page for more details.
MECHANISATION COSTS DSS
An Excel tool to determine the costs of owning vehicles and equipment. DSP has been developed for use in conjunction with researchers and extension specialists.
An Excel tool that indicates the best position for placement of zones from a list of possible sites pre-assessed as possible sites by the grower or extension specialist. The tool requires one to define all the cane that would route through each zone node and the costs for making the zones. The tool optimises the cost of expensive short haulage operations and takes the area and construction costs and loss of cane area of each zone into account.
PRIVATE ROAD PLACEMENT
A GIS tool that optimizes route access and compares the costs of route construction against the benefits of a shorter route (based on the costs of cane haulage that could benefit from the shorter haulage route).
An Excel based tool that is used to compare scientific trials using pivot tables and charts. The users need to define the costs where treatments differ between practices. The income and expenses between trial treatments help to compare the profitability between trial treatments by providing a gross margin (above allocated costs) into account.
Helping you calculate fertiliser distances at the touch of a button!
A ‘Fertiliser distance’ is the distance that a given amount of fertiliser must cover in order to achieve the recommended rate per hectare.
Whether you use the tin-and-string method, or wish to calibrate the flow-rate of a knapsack fertiliser applicator or some
other application equipment, FertiCalc will simplify the process.
FertiCalc replaces the fertiliser distance tables previously published by SASRI. Those tables grouped fertilisers into bulk density categories, a practice now deemed unreliable
as bulk densities of the same fertiliser can vary from time to time, depending on the carrier being used.
Try FertiCalc now. It’s available for free download from the Google Play Store and the i-Store.
An MS Excel version is also available.
RustCalc gives a quick indication of the economics of fungicide application for rust control.
Growers often comment that they require a certain tonnage or percent increase in tons cane to cover the cost of fungicide application. This tool provides this information, taking into account the cost and application rates of the three fungicides registered for use against the different rusts that occur in our industry. To ensure the app remains current, the user will
need to enter the latest costs for the fungicide and application method they intend to use along with relevant crop information. Outputs include total cost for the area being treated and yield increases required to break even.
When applying foliar fungicides, it is worthwhile leaving a small strip of cane untreated for comparison.
Try RustCalc now. It’s available for free download from the Google Play Store and the i-Store.
Herbicide selection at the touch of a button!
With the large number of registered products available, keeping track of the various treatment options becomes complex and cumbersome if you try to use a printed booklet. The old Herbicide Guide that was previously published on an annual basis by SASRI has therefore been replaced by this electronic version (MS Excel) which allows for treatments to be filtered according to selected criteria. The Herbicide Selector also provides notes for each active ingredient and lists the trade names of registered products, together with their formulation and herbicide resistance HRAC group.
A printable version of the guide is also available for situations where computers may not be available.
SUSFARMS® PROGRESS TRACKER
A locally-relevant and globally recognised continuous improvement system called SUSFARMS® has been developed over the years with input from a number of stakeholders. This a practical tool that assists sugarcane farmers implement better management practices (BMPs) while recognising relevant legislation. It consists of a comprehensive manual of BMPs and legislative requirements, accompanied by a self-assessment progress tracker tool.
Please visit our SUSTAINABILITY page for more details and download options.