WESTERN Australian landholders can now access a closer bird's eye view of weekly pasture growth on their property, to aid livestock feed budgeting and land management decisions.
The popular Pastures from Space service has been re-released by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), with a new zoom-in function so landholders can assess food on offer (FOO) and pasture growth rates (PGR) down to 6.25 hectares.
The new function also features an interactive satellite map, rather than the previous static map, so landholders can more accurately assess the pasture coverage on their property.
The images, provided by Landgate, are updated weekly and can be accessed via DPIRD's website for free.
Pastures from Space was developed nearly 20 years ago in WA by DPIRD, the CSIRO and Landgate, to show estimates of pasture production based on satellite data.
DPIRD senior development officer Mandy Curnow said the new zoom-in function and satellite map would provide landholders with a clearer, more accurate and interactive view of pasture growth on the properties to aid management decisions.
"Pastures from Space enables producers to get a property perspective of pasture growth and track how it changes on a weekly basis, which can assist with supplementary feeding and paddock management strategies," Ms Curnow said.
"The enhancements will be particularly useful for feed budgeting for livestock, especially during the early part of the season when small changes in FOO, of 100 to 200 kilograms, can have a critical impact on the feed supply for lambing ewes.
"With a patchy start to the 2019 growing season and continued below average conditions in some areas, it is important landholders have a good understanding of pasture availability and seasonal forecast to make good, evidence-based decisions sooner, rather than later."
To use the zoom-in function, simply go to DPIRD's online Pastures from Space Map page, via the search function on the department's homepage.
Once on the page, scroll down and click on 'Access the latest FOO and PGR images' and enter the property identification code (PIC), which will go straight to the landholding.
Either use the zoom-in function on the left hand side of the page or the scroll wheel to get a closer view of FOO and PGRs, layered over a satellite map, the intensity of which can be controlled via a 'transparency' function to tailor the view to the user's satisfaction.
DPIRD will be working closely with CSIRO over the growing season to bring further enhancements and tools, such as previous year's pasture production charts and year to date pasture production.
To access this week's FOO and PGR maps, go to agric.wa.gov.au and search for 'Pastures from Space Map'.
- For more feed budgeting information, visit DPIRD's Season 2019 webpage, which has links to the Supplementary feeding calculator for pregnant and lactating ewes, the Feed cost calculator and other useful tools and articles to assist livestock management decisions.
- This story first appeared on Farm Weekly
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