Determining Biophysical Attributes of Pasture Using Very High Resolution Imaging Techniques

a PhD project by Gustavo T Alckmin supervised by Arko Luccieer & Richard Rawnsley


From the lush green hilly prairies of United States to the never-ending flat Argentinian Pampas, a cowboy and a gaucho are faced with the same decisions as a Tasmanian dairy producer: how much can my herd graze without compromising future pasture production? What is the feed value of this pasture? Will these animals be able to meet their nutritional requirements simply from this pasture?
Simple and millennia old questions that have defined the success and failure of pastoral populations across the Globe.

Today, when mankind is faced with an explosive growth of population and where farmers are asked to meet demand for high quality products at a low price, how can science and technology better equip agricultural producers with accurate spatial information on near real time for optimal decision making?

Unmanned Aerial Systems are the most feasible platform to translate the body of knowledge from remote sensing into sound and scientifically-based actionable information.

This project aims to determine protocols for data collection, assess optimal sensors’ specification to provide site-specific information that can be readily applied on a Tasmanian dairy production context.

In order to do so, managerial key-points are defined and experimental designs are custom planned to accurately respond the Industry needs.

Currently, at Elliot Research Station, an assessment of market standard devices for biomass estimation will be compared against radiometric models. The long term objective is to accurately estimate both biophysical and biochemical characteristics from pasture through radiometric sensors mounted on UAVS.

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