Full Season Wheat Photo Log

Today I’m looking back on the 2010 wheat crop. The variety was ‘Sunvale’. Yields and protein were excellent but we were unable to harvest all our crop before summer storms left much of it lying on the ground and weather damaged.

View pictures on the 2012 wheat harvest here.

Full Season Chickpeas Photo Log

Here is another photo log from a couple years ago. Chickpeas, once introduced as a break crop from a crop rotation dominated by cereals (i.e. wheat and barley) is now just as important and can be just as profitable as wheat and barley. Although chickpea varieties are getting better all the time they are still susceptible to water logging and disease due to too much rain. The variety used in this season was ‘Jimbour’. We have now switched to ‘Hat-Trick’.

The season was set up to be a bumper crop with great crop establishment and moisture profile but then it just kept on raining and we ended up with a lot of plant and not many peas in the pods due to water logging, disease and wind. Enjoy viewing some of the hardships of farming.

The video is me harvesting chickpeas, but not this particular crop.

Full Season Faba Bean Photo Log

This Faba Bean photo log was recorded in 2010 and now just being published on agmapsonline.com. This was our second attempt at growing Faba Beans. The crop looked good but did not yield quite as well as we would have hoped. The following year we grew a high protein, well yielding wheat crop which was partly attributed the the soil conditioning of Faba Bean plants.

Faba beans planted at 80kg/ha into 2009 wheat stubble at 66cm spacing with Excel single disc opener.
Simazine and glyphosate (aka Round-up) sprayed for weed control.
Simizane is a pre-emergent residual chemical that is used to control broad leaf weeds and annual grasses. It acts by inhibiting photosynthesis (source).
Most seeds germinated.
Check out the photo gallery to view dates each photo was taken.
Harvest was on 28-10-2010

The video was recorded in this crop. It shows off the Faba Bean flowers.

Creating Python QGIS Plugins in Windows 8

After being fresh out of Udacity CS101 – Computer Science course I wanted to put my new Python skills to use. QGIS supports plugins programmed in Python so I thought I would give that a go. What I realised is that there is a missing link between an introduction to programming and how to apply it! After several hours I was able to complete a simple plugin and get it working, with a GUI – all in Windows 8.

Here are the steps I followed:

1. Install QGIS 1.8 using OSGeo4W. Select ‘Express Desktop Install’. I installed all packages even though we won’t be using them all. It is worth having.

2. Download and Install Monkey Studio IDE.

Optional: Download QGIS APIs for auto-complete. You can add these to Monkey Studio by going to Edit > Settings. In ‘Source APIs’ select Python as language and add all the .api files. I sources these files here but stored them on my server in case the drop box goes missing.

3. The first Plugin I made was called Zoom to Point. I used instructions from a book excerpt available here. Chapter 15 – GIS Scripting, starting at page 270.

I was able to follow the instructions with the following additional tips:

  • Windows 8 QGIS plugin directory is located at


  • QT Designer is built into Monkey Studio. When you need to edit ui_zoomtopoint.ui launch Monkey Studio, then open this file to edit it.
  • Run the command line commands in the OSGeo4W console which should be on your desktop from Step 1. Navigate to your plugin directory e.g.

cd C:Users[username].qgisPythonPluginsZoomToPoint

pyrcc4 -o resources.py resources.qrc

pyuic4 -o ui_zoomtopoint.py ui_zoomtopoint.ui

  • On page 284-285 there is code which you will need to copy over to your zoomtopoint.py file. For me lines 41 and 42 produced an error. I was able to fix this by replacing them with:
41     x = dlg.ui.xCoord.toPlainText()
42     y = dlg.ui.yCoord.toPlainText()
  • In the file zoomtopoint.py (around line 27) I changed ‘import resources_rc’ to ‘import resources’. Otherwise I get an error in QGIS.
  • Every time you make a change to your plugin you need to restart QGIS. There is a plugin called Plugin Reloader that speeds this up allowing you to reload plugin with restarting QGIS.
  • Be very careful manually copying code. Most of my errors came from incorrectly copying code!

I hope that saves some others a few hours starting out. I have just scratched the surface and am looking forward to building some handy QGIS plugins as time allows.

Some more tips as I go:

  • For some reason if I create my Class name (ie when creating plugin template in Plugin Builder) in all lower case it does not build properly with pyuic4. If you have this same problem try using CamelCase and see if that makes a difference – it did for me.

Topography maps for drainage, Part 1

Recently I’ve been looking at elevation data collected from our Trimble FMX GPS system we use in our tractor.

I imported the logs from this years planting operation. We plant on a swath width of 12m so the data resolution is quite good. The data logs are then transformed into a digital elevation model or DEM and then interpolated to create smoother surface. From the DEM, so far I have developed a contour map and an exaggerated 3 dimensional surface.

Exaggerated 3D surface – note that it is twisted 90 degrees to the below contour map. You are looking from the western side of the paddock.
Contours 20cm

You may have noticed from these diagrams that this paddock has quite interesting topography. A couple of places in this paddock water fails to drain freely which can sometimes lead to water logging. My next step is to identify these sinks.

Software used is the freely available QGIS with GRASS & SAGA extensions available at http://qgis.org.