Australian Farmers Use Satellites To Manage Pastures
Australian farmers are trying out a satellite-based pasture monitoring system designed to improve their ability to make informed farm management decisions. Using the MODIS sensor onboard the Terra satellite, Australia’s ‘Pastures From Space’ consortium is delivering detailed data relating to pasture growth rates (PGRs), according to CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) Livestock Industries, sponsor of the program. The MODIS sensor remotely estimates PGRs, which are then validated against on-ground measurements.
Subsequent management decisions about grazing rotations, feed budgeting, fertilizer application and other ‘precision agriculture’ techniques can be made with greater accuracy. The trial involves 60 farmers throughout Western Australia’s Mediterranean climate zone. The satellites measure solar radiation reflected from the Earth’s surface to create an image.