Pasture Quality is the logical step after Biomass and Growth Rate are known in order to fine tune your feed budget to achieve production targets.

Not only do we want to know that the paddock destined for silage has 5000 kg of dry matter per hectare and that at the peak of spring it is growing at 70 kg of dry matter per hectare per day, but we also want to know that it has a protein content of 18%, a digestibility value above 65% and a reasonable soluble carbohydrate content.

For finishing lambs to market we would identify the paddock with 2000 kg of dry matter per hectare with a protein content of 24% and a digestibility of 73%

We are currently evaluating the feasibility of measuring pasture quality from remote sensing. To do this, we are following the logical steps from wet chemistry analysis to Near Infrared (NIR) in the laboratory, to NIR in the field, to airborne NIR and finally satellite NIR to develop prediction equations for use in practical applications.

In remote sensing fields, what we call NIR is also known as hyperspectral imagery. CSIRO’s Earth Observation Centre is also playing a role in the evaluation of hyperspectral technologies.


Pasture Quality missions undertaken in developing the Pastures from Space program

  • PacRim (Sept 2000)
  • Hand-held radiometer (Aug – Nov ’00)
  • HyMap (March ‘01)
  • Hyperion (Sept, Nov, Jan ’02-’03)

Characteristics of the Hyperion Mission

40+ locations

Pastures & crops

Intensive measurements & sampling:

  • Plant biomass, sward height

  • Botanical composition, ground cover

  • Soil & plant moisture content

  • Crude protein, in vitro digestibility

  • ADF, NDF, Mineral analysis

  • Lignin, chlorophyll

  • Wet & dried laboratory NIR

Hyperion image.

7 km wide x 40 km long, 220 bands



Copyright © 2003 Pastures from Space
Last modified: October 01, 2003

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