Making More from Sheep Australian Wool Innovation Limited Meat & Livestock Australia
MODULE 12: Efficient Pastoral Production
Tool 12.12
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Generic photo standards have been developed by a number of state governments and other organisations to assist in estimating feed availability for different plant communities and for a range of seasonal conditions. These provide a useful guide for estimating the amount of dry matter available.

However, it is important to understand the assumptions on which the dry matter figures are determined; was the estimate based on grazing down to ‘bare ground’ or on grazing to a level that will result in good regrowth (i.e. 30% utilisation)?

It is relatively easy to develop a customised set of photo standards for a property by combining quadrat or plant cuts with photo standards. To increase the accuracy of this process, it is best if the plant material is dried and weighed, rather than the dry weight being based on an estimated dry matter.

These photographs can then be used as an indicator of stocking rate on an ongoing basis. This assists in achieving consistency with estimates between seasons and in situations where there are a number of people involved in undertaking the FOO estimates.

Lookup photo standards on the following web addresses:

Feed On Offer Library, AWI

Tool 6.2: Measuring groundcover and litter levels