University Of Tasmania

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Estimating farm pasture cover using a limited number of paddocks

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 04:53 authored by Richard RawnsleyRichard Rawnsley, La Grange, RF, Haynes, CM, Lydia TurnerLydia Turner
The amount and rate of change of pasture availability on dairy farms, often referred to as farm pasture cover, expressed as kg DM/ha, is a key metric for making daily and seasonal management decisions. However, regular farm walks to determine farm pasture cover are conservatively estimated as occurring on only 10% of Tasmanian dairy farms with, “lack of time” quoted by farmers as the main reason for this not occurring. For a given dairy farm implementing rotational grazing, a gradient in pasture biomass between paddocks will exist. A review of historical farm walk data from the Tasmanian Dairy Demonstration Farm and two commercial farms, showed that determining the gradient between the highest three and lowest three paddocks provided an adequate correlation with total farm pasture cover. Based on this historical analysis and feedback from farmer groups, a pasture farm cover estimator was developed. The tool has three simple viewing pages: 1. a data entry page where farm walk data is entered and a farm pasture cover estimate is provided; 2. a paddock management page where the individual paddocks are displayed and can be removed, added or edited; and 3. an historical page where data for each individual paddock or farm can be stored and viewed. This paper provides a comprehensive description of the farm pasture cover estimator and the underpinning historical analysis.


Dairy Australia Limited


Publication title

Proceedings of the 4th Australasian Dairy Science Symposium


Grant R Edwards; Racheal Harriet Bryant






Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Lincoln University

Place of publication

Lincoln, New Zealand

Event title

Australasian Dairy Science Symposium: Meeting the Challenges for Pasture-Based Dairying

Event Venue

Lincoln, New Zealand

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Rights statement

Copyright © 2010 DairyNZ and Dairy Australia

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Sown pastures (excl. lucerne)