Free app streamlines cotton population counts thanks to FastStart

Manually calculating cotton plant stands could become a thing of the past with the launch of the free FastStart™ Cotton POP App.

By utilising the camera built into the user’s phone, the app enables advisors to use the Scanner tool and easily determine the number of seedlings in a gridded metre of row.

The app also enables users to calculate the average number of plants per hectare.

“Successful cotton crops start with even seedling emergence,” Cotton Seed Distributors Marketing and Extension Lead James Quinn said.

“Having the use of an app to quickly and easily assess planting performance makes it easier for advisors to do their work, including assessment of planter accuracy and crop establishment.”

The app is the latest tool from the FastStart Cotton Program, which this season celebrates 10 years of research and development excellence.

This partnership between CSD and Syngenta is focused on better outcomes for cotton growers, especially in the first 70 days after sowing. It combines leading seed genetics from CSD with Syngenta Seedcare™ to overcome soilborne pests, diseases and climatic challenges. Proceeds from the sale of Syngenta treated cotton seed go back into research and development. Not only for seed treatment technology but also helpful tools like the FastStart Cotton network of soil temperature probes and the Traffic Light tool for clear signals on when to plant.

Syngenta Australia Head of Seedcare Michael Uttley said the development of the App was assisted by the Singapore headquarters of Syngenta Australia-Pacific.

“Syngenta is globally respected for its innovations in crop protection and what this app demonstrates is our passion for collaboration and enhanced outcomes on-farm,” he said.

“CSD and Syngenta are constantly working on more tools and technology for the Australian cotton industry. The development of the FastStart Cotton POP App is another example of this collaboration and our mutual dedication to the cotton industry.”

Scanner function

With the Scanner tool open, the user will see a blue grid. It’s then simply a matter of tapping the screen for each present seedling while walking along a metre of row.

Once the assessment is complete, advisors have the ability to save the data, including relevant information on the farm, field, variety and planter box row number. This is helpful for later reference, even containing the distance in centimetres between the individual seedlings scanned.

Calculator use

The Calculator tool enables advisors to input the row spacing in centimetres, and number of seedlings per metre of row, across multiple rows. The tool will then determine the average number of plants per hectare.

Multiple rows can be entered, the app then able to calculate the average number of plants per hectare.

The FastStart Cotton Pop App is a free download from the App Store for use on iPhone.