Research project Optimization of grassland exploitation using a decision support tool

In progress GRASSAT
grass

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Peter Lootens

Precision farming and phenotyping expert

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Main research question

The goal of this grass-oriented project is to validate and apply a grass growth model. It is based on satellite images under field conditions that takes into account regional weather conditions and soil moisture. The model is integrated in an online platform where farmers get information about the need for fertilization need in function of the crop demand, (potential) grass growth, yield estimation and an indication of the grass quality, taking into account the soil type and the regional weather conditions.

Research approach

When making this model, we use historical data and practical plots that will be monitored and compared with satellite data. The farmers get a dashboard where the state of their grassland plots can be seen at a glance. This provides the basis for useful recommendations such as optimal mowing times and fertilisation strategies.

Relevance/Valorization

By developing this tool, the project partners aim to achieve optimal yields in a more sustainable manner within the current stringent fertilization standards and changing climate conditions. Use of the tool will make it possible to increase yield of mowed grass of optimal quality, at a higher financial return per ha. This increases farm profitability. Grass is a very important forage crop in Flanders and also worldwide, with a huge acreage. Furthermore, from a climate point of view, it is important to preserve grasslands.