New project led by Jane’s Weather uses AI to provide more localised forecasting for growers 

Growers could soon have personalised  local weather forecasts directly at their fingertips through a  programme that leverages the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning combined with traditional weather forecasting techniques. 


Jane’s Weather chief executive and meteorologist, Jane Bunn 

Aimed at significantly enhancing the precision, quality and usability of weather-related information, the A$1.3m initiative, delivered through Hort Innovation and led by Jane’s Weather, is tailored to meet the specific needs of individual growers, considering their farming block, unique terrain and operational requirements. 

Hort Innovation chief executive Brett Fifield said the project heralds a new era in weather forecasting. 

“Horticulture growers face the challenge of making crucial farming decisions based on generic weather forecasts that may not accurately reflect their specific location,” he said. 

“Recognising this gap, this innovative project seeks to provide local weather predictions, empowering growers with the ability to make more informed decisions regarding frost management, spraying, irrigation, and pest and disease control, among other critical agricultural activities.” 

Machine learning and AI has been the “missing ingredient” according to Fifield. With access to this technology, growers will be “more accurate, more often”.  

Jane’s Weather chief executive and meteorologist, Jane Bunn, said: “Traditional weather models are not accurate enough for the majority of production sites due to their distance from official weather stations.”  

According to Bunn, applying machine learning and AI to the data from current weather prediction models and local farm weather stations can significantly reduce forecasting error. 

“This approach delivers more accuracy, more often, by learning from observations directly from the site, delivering superior results and therefore, superior business outcomes for our clients,” she said.  

The collaboration between Jane’s Weather and Hort Innovation will involve identifying and selecting a cohort of farming enterprises to build and test the functionality of the platform. This targeted approach ensures that the developed solutions are practical and meet the real-world needs of growers. 

Mulgowie Fresh agronomy manager Andrew Johanson said the technology has significant potential. 

“Having access to accurate, site-specific weather information will enable growers to make timely decisions that can positively impact our crop yield and quality,” said Johanson. 

“This is a major advancement for the horticulture industry, and it is exciting to be a part of it.”