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PASTORAL – co-designing a pasture performance platform with livestock farmers

PASTORAL – co-designing a pasture performance platform with livestock farmers

27 January 2022 Pasture resilience

Using satellite data to plan pasture management

Innovative Farmers is collaborating with Environment Systems and the University of Edinburgh as part of a major two-year industrial research project under the Government’s Farming Innovation Programme. The project, Pasture Optimisation for Resilience and Livelihoods (PASTORAL) which is funded by Innovate UK will combine satellite data with advanced algorithms, to deliver weekly intelligence on grass biomass and carbon budgets through a co-designed platform.

The project is seeking livestock farmers from a diverse range of beef, dairy and lamb enterprises to join the project to share with us information about current and future pasture performance needs and understand the way in which satellite data can help to support this.

Quality, productive pasture is essential for efficient livestock production. Currently farmers walk their fields with a rising plate meter to assess grass biomass available for livestock grazing. This approach does not accurately reflect field quality, nor likely future growth under climate change, limiting accuracy of pasture management decisions. The PASTORAL service will be co-designed with livestock farmers split equally between beef, dairy and lamb producers, with service testing, development and demonstration across organic, regenerative agriculture and conventional farming systems.

How to get involved

There are a range of ways in which farmers can get involved in the project. Currently we are looking for farmers to sign up to the programme and join us for an initial co-design workshop. This builds on insights gathered in December at a virtual workshop facilitated by the Innovative Farmers team. A series of workshops will be held with the delivery team throughout the duration of the two-year project including some on-farm demonstrations in the summer.

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