iPhone displaying the PestDetect app

World-first tool for use in the field: Cotton PestDetect app

Published

CRDC and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) have partnered with tech specialists Clevvi to create a world-first tool for use in the field.

The Cotton PestDetect App is a digital tool to assist with sampling for silverleaf whitefly nymphs by providing image-derived insect counts using a phone camera, with work underway to add cotton aphids to the capability. The software is based on research and development undertaken with support from CRDC by Dr Derek Long and Dr Alison McCarthy from the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Centre for Agricultural Engineering in partnership with QLD DAF and CottonInfo IPM Technical Lead Dr Paul Grundy.

PestDetect is used in conjunction with the new decision support tool (DST), which came into cotton fields this season. The DST was developed by QLD DAF’s Dr Richard Sequeira and is based on sampling SLW nymphs rather than adults. It counts SLW nymphs and integrates this information with crop development and pest density thresholds to assist agronomists and growers to make better-informed management decisions. Using geotagged image analysis, the app also allow users to create maps of where pests may be building more rapidly on individual farms or fields. It can also enable timely, impartial measurement of the efficacy of insecticides.

CRDC has been seeking partners to take PestDetect past the research stage technology and into the field.

“We are really excited to be partnering with Clevvi, an award-winning Australian leader in digital marketing, web and app development, and software engineering,” CRDC R&D Manager Susan Maas said.

“With extensive experience in Australian agriculture and both marketing and software engineering capacity, we believe Clevvi will be the ideal partner to commercialise the PestDetect App.

“The USQ and QLD DAF research team has delivered exciting new capacity to automate pest decisions in the field. 

“Clevvi have taken this technology and are focussed on ensuring a great end user experience.” 

Susan said while the app is available for use this season, there are some aspects of the technology still being developed.

“The capacity to detect viable from non-viable nymphs is underway and is expected to be completed and incorporated into the app by mid-2022,” Susan said.

“The opportunity to have technology support crop decision making is well and truly here and in the future we hope to expand to include the ability to identify and count pests such as aphids.”

Professor Craig Baillie, Director of the Centre for Agricultural Engineering, said it was exciting to see university technology enter the market with Clevvi from a relatively short runway and remarked how this was made possible by the collaboration with scientists from QLD DAF.

In addition to the partnership with Clevvi, CRDC and the project partners are also seeking an app sponsor for PestDetect. For a prospectus, contact CRDC

To learn more about the PestDetect app, visit the CottonInfo website