Drones will fly to map pasture dieback across Queensland

Sheep Central, June 1, 2017

DRONES will be used to map areas of Queensland suffering pasture dieback after a producer survey indicated more than 6500 hectares has been affected.

More than 50 producers across Queensland have responded to a Meat & Livestock Australia’s survey around recent pasture dieback, providing key information to allow a better understanding of the extent of the problem and the development of solutions.

MLA last month announced it would implement a multi-pronged action plan to map and address recent pasture dieback, which is causing great concern for many Queensland producers.

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MLA’s General Manager Research, Development & Innovation, Sean Starling said in addition to producer consultation, MLA’s action plan included engaging a drone and image analysis company to aerial map affected areas.

MLA would also work with global chemical suppliers on available products to tackle the problem in the short-term, undertaking soil and pasture sampling and establishing expert panels to guide the research and response.

“We are working with researchers and solution providers to find the long-term answer and to get some short-term solutions in place,” Mr Starling said.

Initial feedback from producer responses to the survey has indicated:

  • three species of pasture are being affected – Buffel grass, Blue grass and Green Panic
  • the majority of producers first observed the dieback 12 months ago
  • producers commonly identified overgrown pasture as more likely to be affected
  • based on reports to date, the average affected area of pasture per property is around 133 hectares, with an estimated 6515ha of total pasture experiencing dieback.

Mr Starling said the information gathered from producers would assist MLA, researchers and experts to understand the extent of the issue and develop solutions for producers.

“We know there is strong producer concern about the extent of these dieback issues and MLA is determined to bring together producers, researchers and experts to develop solutions,” Mr Starling said.

“It’s critical in developing solutions that we have access to as much on the ground information from affected producers.”

Mr Starling encouraged affected producers who haven’t had an opportunity to complete the survey to get in touch with MLA as soon as possible.

Producers experiencing pasture dieback and willing to assist MLA should go to

Source: MLA.


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