Ten agricultural industry leaders are partnering on a project using artificial intelligence to improve on-farm forecasting.
The organisations involved include AgriWebb, Meat & Livestock Australia, Cibo Labs, FLINTpro and the Food Agility CRC.
The three-year partnership, dubbed Foragecaster, aims to create an AI-supported grazing planner for livestock producers to use predictive data.
Combining seasonal climate forecasts with modelled pasture and livestock growth, Foragecaster will allow producers to develop a range of different management scenarios. It will be delivered through AgriWebb's existing livestock management software solution.
Food Agility chief executive officer Dr Mick Schaefer said the improvement in accuracy of satellite imagery over recent years had opened the door to data-driven grazing decisions.
"Satellite imagery is an incredible resource that provides information on pasture growth and vegetation," he said. "The Foragecaster project will use that imagery to forecast changes in landscape caused by weather events, climate change, or farm management practices, and enable the creation of a grazing planner for future proofing on-farm livestock operations."
Dr Schaefer said the project would address a real need from farmers looking to better use the data they collect.
"During the scoping process the feedback was that farmers collect a tremendous amount of data already through their regular operations," he said. "What the farmers were really wanting to do was to gain more insight from the data they're already collecting."
Dr Schaefer said AI and machine learning were core focuses with the project.
"The reality is that up until now there really wasn't enough data out there to be used to get the real value out of AI and machine learning," he said. "I think going into the future AI and machine learning will be used more and more because there's a plethora of data being captured by different sources, not just on-farm by the farmers but also by remote sensing companies, farm management companies and software companies. So, it's going to become more and more commonplace."
AgriWebb's vice president of research and development Dr Kenneth Sabir said Foragecaster would produce the best information availavle to help farmers with their planning decisions, with the first iteration of the grazing planner released by the end of the year.
"Over time we'll be bringing more and more data to the grazing planner," he said.
Dr Sabir said another aspect to the project was improved remote sensing.
"Remote sensing uses satellites to understand feed availability. Currently it does a good job of understanding the quantity, but it's lacking understanding of the quality," he said.
The Queensland University of Technology, University of Technology Sydney, University of New England Smart Farm, and the NSW Department of Primary Industries, as well as agtech leader Optiweigh, are the other project partners.
A webinar on Foragecaster is on Wednesday, February 28 via https://www.agriwebb.com/event/foragecaster-farm-planning-and-forecasting/