Lucid Crop diagnostics feature selection exampleCrop Diagnostic Tools

While the initial purpose in developing Lucid was to provide taxonomists with software they could use to develop matrix identification keys for use by non-taxonomists, it soon became apparent that agronomists and other agricultural scientists could use Lucid software in a different way, to develop crop diagnostic tools for use by non-specialists. While insect pests can be identified using taxonomic keys, often it is the damage they cause that is most apparent to a farmer or crop adviser rather than seeing the insect itself.

Lucid Crop diagnostics key exampleHowever, there are other causes of crop symptoms, including plants infected with pathogens or viruses, nutrient deficiencies and toxicities, and other soil or management problems. Since (a) these crop disorders can generally only be diagnosed (at least initially) by the observation of crop symptoms and (b) experienced field agronomists (like taxonomists) are increasingly not available to provide personal crop advice, Lucid diagnostic keys developed by agronomists and others experts can provide useful support to farmers and their advisors in diagnosing crop problems.

You can get a good idea how a crop diagnostic key works by viewing the tutorial that steps you through the use of the MyCrop Wheat app to diagnosis a problem in wheat in Western Australia, the first case study .

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To provide diagnostic help to growers and their advisors, the MyCrop team within the Western Australian Department of Agriculture and Food has developed a series of Lucid Mobile apps – “to bring crop diagnostics to the paddock”. 


In addition to the diagnostic tools described above, the MyCrop team in Western Australia have also developed a Lucid matrix key to help growers identify the soil type on their farm, providing another means of determining possible soil constraints to crop growth and any measures that could be taken to reduce these constraints.

MySoil WA soil map

Rice Doctor

A Lucid-based crop diagnostic tool for rice in SE Asia was one of the first to be developed. It was the result of a long-term research project involving the International Rice Research Institute, PhilRice in the Philippines, the Rice Research Institute in Indonesia and the University of Queensland.

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Sweepotato Diagnotes

Is an interactive tool for extension workers, students, researchers and others who want to learn about the crop; about the pest, disease and other problems that can occur; how to diagnose crop symptoms and what management practices can be used to deal with sweetpotato disorders.

Solanaceae Fruit Field Guide

A decision support app for tomato and similar crops, developed by the NSW Department of Primary Industry and Asian collaborators for use in Australia and SE Asia. Funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, the app provides a “one-stop-shop” for advisors and growers. 

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Bunching vegetables

An interactive key and field guide for the identification of insects pests, beneficials, diseases and disorders in Australia, developed by the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries with funding from Hort Innovation and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

Interactive Plant Selection Tools

The Third type of problem for which Lucid key authors have developed a decision support tool is plant selection. The question that the key aims to provide information about is: “What type of plant (species or variety) is likely to be most suitable taking into account the physical features of my field or garden (soil, climate, rainfall, etc..) and what purpose do I want to achieve in making this choice (a pink summer flower, a tall shrub, or a specific agricultural objective”. In the case study covered below, the issue concerns the choice of a forage or pasture plant.

Tropical Forages: an interactive selection tool

Tropical Forages is a powerful tool for selecting forage species suitable for local conditions in the tropics and subtropics. It is invaluable for agricultural researchers and extension officers involved in improving animal production.

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