Ovine Observer

Pastures from Space is back and better than ever

Livestock producers can now better understand pasture growth on their properties through the revamped Pastures from Space™ online mapping service.

The tool, a partnership between the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), Landgate and CSIRO, now provides more features for producers to measure and compare pasture growth across seasons.

The new service allows producers to drill down to their property plus pixels within their property to see Pasture Growth Rate (PGR), Feed on Offer (FOO) and cumulative PGR over each growing season from 2004. The data can be viewed for any combination of years including the latest week in the current growing season plotted against the median, 75 and 25 percentiles to help understand how the season is progressing in comparison to other years. The map can also be used to view FOO and PGR for the whole South West agricultural region on a weekly basis, including the last seven years of data. All the data can be downloaded to Microsoft Excel.

The estimates of FOO use technology that has been developed and calibrated from 1995, based on the relationship between normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) and ground-truthed data to example seasonal response patterns. FOO is the above-ground green pasture biomass expressed as kg DM/ha and PGR is the current rate of pasture growth in kg/ha/day. The cumulative PGR or total dry matter is the sum of the weekly PGR multiplied by 7 days and is expressed as kg DM/ha.

The primary information for this application comes from the MODIS satellite. This satellite passes over Western Australia at least 14 times a week at a resolution of 250m by 250m or 6.25 ha. Although Sentinel satellites can provide more detailed data (10x10m), it is affected by cloud cover and has limited value during our wet and cloudy winter days.

Pastures from Space pasture growth rate graph 

The service is free and brought to you by DPIRD and Landgate, building on the extensive ground truthing done over the years in the broadacre areas of WA by CSIRO, DPIRD and Landgate.

Visit the Pastures from Space website:

Pastures from Space website QR code