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Our Mission

To deliver near real-time  information tools at a whole-farm and within-paddock level, that will underpin tactical and strategic decision making for Australian agricultural businesses.


Pastures from Space

Efficient use of feed resources in the livestock industries of Australia is a major factor determining farm profitability. 

Inefficient use often results from insufficient information on which to base production decisions from one season or  year to the next. 

Pasture utilization by sheep and cattle during the growing season is low relative to total pasture production.  In many years total pasture consumption can be as low as 20 to 30 %.  That is,  producers forego potential production due to their inability to make informed decisions on the management of their feed resources. 

In southern Australia, the environment is characterized by high winter/spring rainfall and summer/autumn drought.  Pasture that is not utilized before the end of the growing season dries up, senesces and is available with a greatly reduced nutritive value.

The Pastures from Space program provides estimates of pasture production during the growing season by means of remote sensing. Satellite data is used to accurately and quantitatively estimate Pasture Biomass or Feed On Offer (FOO) or combined with climate and soil data is used to produce Pasture Growth Rate (PGR) estimates.

Estimation of PGR and FOO using remote sensing provides temporal and spatial information on feed resources allowing producers to more effectively manage their enterprise and potentially raise the productivity and profitability of their businesses.  It is also possible that an objective measure of the spatial variation of pasture production will highlight opportunities to improve the environmental management of the landscape.  Matched with electronic delivery of the information (email or web based) near real time decisions can be made.

The technology has been widely trialed by Western Australian farmers, where PGR information is broadcast on ABC Radio and signposted in regional areas. 

PGR estimates for Shires in the Southern agricultural or Mediterranean regions of Australia are now being developed and trialed nationally.

The Scope

Mediterranean and Temperate agricultural zones of Southern Australia.

 

  • 90% of Australian sheep and lamb flocks

  • 90% of Australian Dairy Cows and 92% of total milk production

  • 40% of Australian beef cattle

Applicable to other areas after validation eg pastoral.

Partners include the Department of Agriculture of Western Australia and the Western Australian Land Information Authority (Landgate).


CSIRO Livestock Industries Department of Agriculture - WA Landgate

Dr David Henry

 

CSIRO Livestock Industries

 

Ph: 61 (0)8 9333 6000

Fx: 61 (0)8 9387 8991

 

Email: Dave.Henry@csiro.au

 

Dr Stephen Gherardi

 

Agriculture, Western Australia

 

Ph: 61 (0)8 9368 3572

Fx: 61 (0)8 9367 8078

 

Email: sgherardi@agric.wa.gov.au

Richard Stovold

 

Landgate, Western Australia

 

Ph: 61 (0)8 9387 0330

Fx: 61 (0)8 9383 7142

 

Email:

 
 
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Copyright 2014 Pastures from Space
Last modified: May 08, 2014

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