Cattle feed estimates go high tech using satellite image approach

Beef Central, 23/04/2021

Cibo Labs’ remote sensing feed map image of an area of land in the NT

A SIGNIFICANT grant has been awarded to Territory Natural Resource Management to develop the use of cutting-edge satellite data to deliver a program of high tech feed budgeting to Northern Territory cattle producers.

The project is part of the Australian Government’s Natural Resource Management Drought Resilience Program.

In partnership with Cibo Labs, EcoRich Grazing, the NT Cattlemen’s Association and the NT Government, TNRM will deliver the program of high tech feed budgeting to the region’s cattle  producers.

TNRM’s Dionne Walsh, who is coordinating the project, said that cutting-edge satellite data is emerging as a viable way for Territory pastoralists to assess the feed supply across their vast properties.

“Most cattle producers in the Territory rely on rain-fed native and naturalised pastures that are not irrigated or fertilised. This means that once the rain stops, that’s the feed supply you have until it rains again – which can be months away.

One of the biggest challenges is the sheer size of pastoral properties and the lack of roads – you just don’t know how much feed is out there given how variable the country and the rainfall can be,” Dr Walsh said.

Mataranka Station Co-manager, Doris Baylis with some breeders. Source TNRM

High resolution pasture biomass data from satellites is now a commercial reality and cattle producers are keen to test the new technology. Over the next 12 months, participants in the project will receive training and one-on-one coaching to:

  • Access, use and understand remotely sensed pasture data
  • Combine on-ground and satellite data for accurate feed estimates
  • Simplify and automate their feed budgeting process

“Widespread adoption of this technology will be a game-changer for business resilience and the environment, particularly given the extremes of seasonal conditions we face in the Territory,” Dr Walsh said.


Source: Territory













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