This year the Western Cape experienced rather warm temperatures during August, resulting in above normal maximum temperatures at various weather stations. For example more than 4°C above the historical long-term monthly mean of 21°C was observed at the Oudtshoorn Research Farm. In fact there were more weather stations that exceeded the same threshold (monthly average >4°C above long term), for instance Citrusdal recorded a monthly average of 26.2°C, which was 5.5°C more than the monthly average long term for August.
Users familiar with the Agri-Outlook web- pages have been used to this sort of information as supplied by the departmental website (www.elsenburg.com) under the Agri-Tools heading. Each month a report is generated presenting monthly information in the form of maps and statistics with regard to provincial rainfall, maximum and minimum temperatures, dam levels and plant growing conditions, including brief weather forecasts obtained from the South African Weather Service.
This year the layout and design of the Agri-Outlook webpages have undergone certain changes, including three major alterations. The Agri-Outlook landing page presents a more intuitive manner of explain- ing what is being offered (monthly reports, NAC Advisories, etc.). Secondly, the monthly reports can be downloaded from the web- site as PDF documents for offline purposes, which should greatly benefit remote users, for instance to further disseminate, print and save climate information.
The PDF format allows users to distribute the information with ease, while links em- bedded in the document lead back to the website for any updates that may occur.
An important update is the email and phone link, which allows users to select a contact method and contact the research- er directly. Users can click on the email and the device will refer them to their email ap- plication, and if they are viewing the document on a mobile device, the phone link allows them to make a call directly from the document.
Lastly a colour-in competition was held at the local school, J.J. Rhode Primary, whereby grade three learners participated in expressing their unique artistic talents on how they perceive agriculture. The top three entries each received a prize and all the students received a certificate for their entry in the competition. Since July this year the top drawings have been incorporated into the monthly reports of the Agri-Outlook webpages, including the PDF copies. In this instance we would like to convey our gratitude to Mr Adams (principal) and Ms Tromp (grade three teacher) for making this possible.
The Agri-Outlook webpages will progressively change as the need arises. Comments for further improvement are most welcome and farmers and other interested parties are invited to help make the Agri-Outlook webpages more relevant and interesting for agriculture.