Going Green

Thursday, September 27, 2007

High-Tech Range Management

Precision Agriculture application to grazing lands...

Mapping Prairie Grass Protein, Yield and Carbon

By Don ComisSeptember 26, 2007

A study by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the University of North Dakota lays a foundation for eventually allowing ranchers to get Web-based information on the quality and quantity of forage plants in their fields. Ranchers could use this information to determine stocking rates, as well as how much carbon is stored in their forage plants.

Scientists Rebecca Phillips and Ofer Beeri have developed a way to measure rangeland forage plant yields in pounds per acre, and their quality in percent of protein content, over many acres.

They’re using commercial HyMap hyperspectral imagery taken by airplane, which lets them...(complete article here).

It's interesting but I don't know how practical. Most ranchers can take a drive across the pasture and know how to stock it. Supplement that with a few forage samples to measure protein content and you have a pretty good idea what is there.

The piece that intrigues me is the measurement of carbon stored in the grasses. Are they anticipating "carbon credits" for the grass raised? This part worries me.

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