Eye in the sky informs pasture management

Beef Central, 08/08/2023

Seeing the complete picture of what’s happening across a property’s feedbase to better plan for profitable pasture has become easier with the Australian Feedbase Monitor.

Since the AFM was launched last year by MLA and Cibo Labs, more than 1900 accounts have been created by producers around Australia.

Based on satellite-fed data, the AFM objectively measures pasture growth, biomass and ground cover using a 30-day rolling average. This enables producers to make informed decisions about the state of their pasture.

The tool is free for MLA members who have linked their Livestock Production Assurance accounts to their myMLA dashboard, or can be accessed by non-members via Cibo Labs’ paid subscription service.

More than 1900 AFM subscribers across Australia (see distribution below) now objectively measure pasture growth, biomass and ground cover across their properties.

A tool for everyone

The AFM is designed to allow producers to become more objective in how they manage their feedbase.

Cibo Labs National Extension and Adoption Manager, Alastair Rayner, said producers can use the technology to assess long-term averages and inform pasture management strategies.

“This is a great tool for everyone. The AFM will help producers make decisions based on widespread data, as well as in-field assessments, to help make earlier decisions when it comes to the actuals of your pasture quantity and quality,” Mr Rayner said.

“You don’t have to be a major landholder to use it – whether you run 100ha or one million hectares, you’ll be able to use it and get a view of what is happening across your country.

“This tool allows a producer to see where their pastures are responding well during different seasonal conditions, and where they are not, so they can make more informed decisions for the health of the stock and land.”

The AFM also provides comparative data, as far back as 2017, to help producers recognise trends and changes in the distribution of pasture.

On-farm planning

Grazing advisor for Range IQ, Dionne Walsh, said the main way her clients used the AFM on a day-to-day basis was to check if the feed supply was likely to support the herd size and production targets for the year ahead.

“Producers usually know from experience what numbers they will allocate to their different paddocks. The AFM data can provide reassurance for these plans or highlight where these plans might need to be tweaked,” she said.

Ms Walsh said the AFM was particularly powerful for producers who cannot get across all their land easily – such as extensive pastoral enterprises – as well as producers who are not familiar with the feedbase history of recent property purchases.

“The AFM is also good for people who are just starting out in feed budgeting or fire management and want objective data for their planning,” she said.

“The imagery in the AFM clarifies what’s happening on different parts of your property and can help you pinpoint areas where you should go and have a closer look so you can make more informed decisions for future planning.

“For example, there may be parts of your property that the imagery suggests are not responding well to rainfall and may need more time to recover. So, the AFM helps identify those areas and inform your management plans.”

How to access

The Australian Feedbase Monitor (AFM) is free for MLA members. Existing MLA members can access the AFM for free by signing in to their myMLA account and linking their LPA account at

Non-members can access the AFM through Cibo Labs’ paid subscription service, click here. 


Source: MLA/Cibo Labs






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