Detecting growth from satellites

SATELLITES ARE helping Kiwi livestock producers measure their grass and even predict growth rates, according to research organisation AgResearch.

Dairy co-op Fonterra is behind the project to determine the feasibility of growing grass using space information picked up fortnightly.

Only a small proportion of producers find time to measure pasture regularly and prepare a feed budget, according to AgResearch scientist Annette Litherland.

The aim is to calibrate pastures from space predictions and producers will access information via the internet or email.

 “Satellite information will help them make confident decisions about when to rotate stock, add fertiliser or irrigate, or make silage,” says Ms Litherland.