Pasture update broadcasts popular in WA
Each week ABC regional radio stations in Albany, Bunbury, Esperance and Geraldton provide shire Pasture Growth Rate (PGR) data (measured in kilograms of dry matter per hectare per day) made available by Landgate.
According to the ABC’s Owen Grieve, who broadcasts across all southern WA, the weekly reports have been of great benefit to the community particularly this year which has seen unseasonal conditions in the South East cropping regions.
“Our local farmers now look forward to the weekly PGR updates,” Mr Grieve says. “If we are late broadcasting, they ring us up asking ‘where are they?’.”
The PGR data can also assist with management decisions on issues such as; grazing rotations, feed budgeting, fertilizer application and other ’precision-agriculture‘ techniques.
Wayne Pech from Gnowangerup manages four farms across four shires and will start using PGR for the 2009 season. “Efficiently managing the four properties is time consuming,” he says.
“Just getting around them all to check crops and pastures and monitor stock conditions is difficult. Now I can get much more accurate information using this computer-driven technology to get weekly updates. That means I can target areas that need more attention and bypass the areas that are going well. When you are making decisions in variable seasons, the more information you can get, the better.”
The Pastures from Space website had 11,166 visits in 2008 compared to an initial 563 in 2003.
CSIRO Theme Leader, Dr Peter Thrall, says the program is an example of how CSIRO – through its Agricultural Sustainability Initiative – is combining its expertise in biophysics and modelling to underpin sustainable agricultural performance, planning and management.
“It is rewarding to see, not only that the technology is being taken up by farmers, but that it is really helping with farm management issues in a practical sense,” Dr Thrall says.
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- CSIRO Livestock Industries’ Pastures from Space program is being widely embraced by farmers in Western Australia as a useful farm management tool
- Each week ABC regional radio stations in Albany, Bunbury, Esperance and Geraldton provide shire Pasture Growth Rate (PGR) data (measured in kilograms of dry matter per hectare per day) made available by Landgate