Man sitting in bushland with analysis equipment
Jason Barnetson taking chlorophyll fluorescence measurements to develop a UAV / satellite measure of pasture growth

Pasture and land degradation and sediment loss are major risks associated with Queensland’s variable and drought-prone climate. Forage budgets can help graziers make decisions at critical times to:

  • minimise the risks
  • achieve their targets for animal growth, pasture utilisation and ground cover.

This project will assess the impacts of the new FORAGE pasture budget tool  in critical management decisions at 4 commercial properties. The aim is to:

  • increase the understanding and value of pasture budget information, and confidence in the using the information
  • achieve better outcomes for the grazing industry, the land, and reef water quality.

Our activities

We’ve engaged 4 commercial properties – 2 in the Burdekin and 2 in the Fitzroy catchments – and met with the managers to discuss property infrastructure, pasture, herd, husbandry, supplementation and market information.

We identified field sites and undertook the first wet season biomass sampling and UAV hyperspectral imaging at the properties. (Biomass is renewable organic material from plants and animals.) This data will be used to develop new repeatable and spatially explicit measures of pasture growth, quality and yield

We will also:

  • provide field support for wet and dry season pasture sampling at the properties
  • undertake a whole-of-property analysis to assess the value of the forage budget tool to inform critical management decisions
  • engage with the properties throughout the life of the project to undertake the assessment.

Property managers will review forage budget information and detail their management options. We will then assess the outcomes of these management decisions (e.g., pasture, land, herd and financial outcomes).

What’s next

We will discuss key decision dates and management options with the property managers.

The first dry season biomass sampling and UAV imaging has been organised for September to October 2023.

The second wet season biomass sampling and UAV imaging is planned for April to May 2024.


Find out more

Last updated: 18 Aug 2023