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Beyond the Bale : June 2016
32 ON FARM 32 ON FARM Pastures from Space Plus (PFS Plus), launched in March at Wagin Woolorama, is a new near real-time farm monitoring tool, developed by Landgate with farmers for farmers. It can deliver pasture information directly to woolgrowers to help them make decisions on stocking rates, feed budgeting and fertiliser application. The tool provides Pasture Growth Rates (PGR), Feed On Offer (FOO), Total Dry Matter (TDM) and Greenness Imagery (NDVI). It integrates high-resolution satellite imagery, a stocking rate calculator, feed budgeting tool, Bureau of Meteorology rainfall data, plus 12 years of historical pasture data, all in one online service. PFS Plus is available to farmers by subscription from Landgate, with its pricing reflecting total hectares per individual property. It is accessible on mobile devices in the field as well as laptops and PCs at home. HOW IS PFS PLUS DIFFERENT? Pastures from Space was originally developed in 2000. More recently, farmers, graziers and agronomists have worked with Landgate, in partnership with CSIRO and the Department of Agriculture and Food (WA), to produce this new and unique product. PFS Plus has the same important features as the previous version, with the addition of Landsat 8 high resolution 30m imagery (ie each pixel is 30m x 30m), which gives 64 times the detail of the previous 250m resolution data. Landsat 8 orbits over the same region every 16 days (7 + 9 days in overlapping regions). Using aerial imagery as a backdrop, PFS Plus includes the facility for farmers to map their own paddocks, saving them money by not needing a consultant to do it for them. Also new in PFS Plus is a quick and easy-to-read summary report on all of their paddocks showing the PGRs, FOOs and change in FOO for the week. There is also a stocking rate calculator for each paddock which uses the actual PGR and FOO data reported for the paddock, taking away a lot of the guess work. BENEFITS OF USING LANDSAT 8 IMAGERY Landsat 8 has benefits for both pastures and crops. With Landsat 8 imagery, you can see the differences within a paddock. For example, you can see which parts of a paddock are growing better than others, which parts of a paddock are being grazed more heavily than others, and which parts of a paddock are recovering faster post-grazing. By seeing which parts of the paddock are more productive than others, you could determine where fence lines are better located, and you can see which paddocks are performing better than others (on both sides of the fence). You can also see where weeds are germinating following unseasonal rainfall and potentially which parts of the paddock are having moisture penetration issues. “A GAME CHANGER” This new version of Pastures from Space has been described as a “game changer” by woolgrowers Brad and Tracy Wooldridge, who farm 500 hectares at Arthur River, 250 km south of Perth in WA. They purchased 180 hectares at Kalgan near Albany after assessing information available through PFS Plus. “We use Landgate’s Pastures from Space Plus to predict seasonal outcomes and for in-season green feed budgeting,” Mr Wooldridge said. “As our ewes are rotationally grazed, we need a sound knowledge of pasture growth rates and feed on offer. “This year we mated 2,200 ewes, having dropped numbers when Pastures from Space Plus showed us 2015 was going to be a bad season; we’re planning to build our stock up to about 2,700 ewes for 2017. “You can’t make impartial decisions on memory; Pastures from Space Plus takes the hope and prayer out of livestock management. This is a great new version; the pan, zoom and sequential fading of images make it so useful. “There are a lot of new products on the market but none of them have Landgate’s track record.” MORE INFORMATION https://pfs.landgate.wa.gov.au SATELLITE TECHNOLOGY TURNING PASTURES INTO PROFIT Woolgrowers in the Mediterranean and temperate agricultural zones of southern Australia can now harness high-resolution satellite technology to obtain the latest pasture production estimates at paddock and whole-of-farm level. The new Pastures from Space Plus online tool provides high resolution satellite technology at the touch of a button to help farmers save time and money. This image shows Pasture Growth Rates (PGR) on the property of Brad and Tracy Wooldridge at Arthur River in WA. Woolgrowers Tracy and Brad Wooldridge from WA used PFS Plus to help them manage their way through 2015’s tough seasonal conditions.
In the Shops - September 2016