Funding:  Department of Agriculture

Project Duration:  1 July 2018 – 30 June 2023

Amount:  $512,480 (exc GST)

“Dynamic data to improve pasture and grazing decisions”

A new online tool to assist with grazing and management decisions was launched online in April this year. ‘Farming Forecaster’ puts weather, soil moisture, pasture production and livestock performance information at farmers’ fingertips allowing them to make timely and informed decisions during increasingly volatile and variable conditions.

Farming Forecaster was developed by Tablelands Farming Systems, Monaro Farming Systems, Bookham Agriculture Bureau and South East Local Land Services in close conjunction with CSIRO research scientists.

Farming Forecaster combines real time weather data, soils information and farm simulation modelling to provide a road map of pasture growth and feeding requirements over the next few months. Pasture and livestock conditions are updated daily, so for the first-time, producers can see how changes in weather patterns have flow on effects into soil moisture and pasture productivity.

Within a grazing system in Australia, soil moisture is often the greatest limiting resource for pasture growth. Under a scenario of greater climate variability there is a need to increase the importance of decisions around minimising inputs and maximising yield potential based on accurate and regular information. The most crucial decisions in a livestock enterprise is determining how much dry matter or grass you can grow in a season then applying the appropriate stocking rate.Farming Forecaster will enable producers to look forward at the next three-month predictions and will assist with decision making about farm grazing practices.

Farming Forecaster will become a key tool to assist with grazing and risk management decisions which could include timing around selling or buying livestock, adjusting stocking rates, purchasing and commencement of supplementary feeding.

The Farming Forecaster project is supported by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program through their Smart Farming Partnerships project.