The Pasture Predictor is a simple, user-friendly and free app designed to help with planning of livestock feed budgeting given short-term predictions in pasture growth rates.
The farm dashboard housed on the Pasture Predictor includes a number of smart tools that help farmers manage livestock feed requirements, determine nitrogen costs per unit dry matter produced, and optimise livestock rotations between paddocks, amongst several other functions. Specifically, dashboard tools include:
- Forecasts of pasture growth rates. These are based on regionalised forecasts and are not yet specific at the farm level. Pasture forecasts ingest climate data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and compute three-month forecasts in a pasture growth model based on generic perennial ryegrass ecotype. Users may select a generic soil type (light, medium or heavy) and whether pastures are irrigated or rainfed. Historical and median forecasts and typical seasonal variability in growth rates for any period of the year can also be viewed.
- Climate indices. These are robust forecasts of key resources influencing pasture growth (light, temperature and moisture). The product of the three climate indices is shown as a ‘growth index’. In all cases, 1.0 represents no stress and 0.0 represents complete stress.
- Grazing calculators. These include a leaf appearance and grazing rotation-length calculator, which use real-time climate forecasts to predict leaf appearance rates and thus an allowance for grazing rotation times, given information from the user about farm size and stocking rates. The nitrogen calculator provides information on how soil temperature, soil moisture, initial soil mineral nitrogen, nitrogen price and feed price affect the optimal nitrogen application rate, providing users with information on the optimum nitrogen rate, response rate and cost per kilogram of dry matter produced. The nitrogen calculator will function offline.
- Climate futures: this tool shows anticipated long-term changes in pasture production between 2010 and 2050 in several regions of Tasmania. These maps use both long-term climate projections and regionalised site data. The climate futures maps will function offline.
The Pasture Predictor app was designed for and produced with livestock farmers in Australia. The Pasture Predictor was developed as part of the as part of Sense T’s Beef and Dairy Project http://www.sense-t.org.au/. The project was funded by the Tasmanian Government, the University of Tasmania, CSIRO and Dairy Australia. The Pasture Predictor application was developed by Tasmanian ICT company 41st Degree Software.
With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.