Satellite Imaging and Pastoral ProductionMonday, Jun 25, 2001
Practical application of new Technology to farming often has the characteristics of sharp salesmen making
pushy sales to ignorant buyers unaware of the limitations or impractical uses of the product.
Rather in keeping with a certain Toyota advertisement.
News of a system of pasture measurement using satellite imaging technology developed by the CSIRO which
is now capable of providing farmers with accurate, up-to-date information about the condition
of their pastures over the internet has the basis of a significant break through if it proves to be
all that is claimed.
Over the years there have been various tools devised to enable pastoral farmers to come to grips with
managing the amount of feed they have available for grazing, its current rate of growth and with
an overlay of its quality or energy value.
Long have been the arguments about the necessity for preciseness in feed budgeting and management and
even the odd patronizing farm advisor claiming that farmers wouldn’t know what to do with
the knowledge if it was collected.
The CSIRO has pulled together something that if satellite imaging can be used in the manner suggested
and the cost is reasonable, it will put a very powerful tool in the hands of the on farm decision
While it is traditional to claim that the best fertiliser was the farmer’s boots walking round
ensuring he knew what was happening on his farm. This new way of collecting data puts a much more
efficient and objective measurement system in place in so far as knowing what is happening to the
farms primary resource – pasture.
That objectivity married up with a systems approach to livestock grazing management opens up possibilities
for improved performance in pastoral livestock production.