GrassGro

GrassGro allows you to analyse opportunities and risks that various management strategies and weather have on the profitability and sustainability of pasture grazing systems in temperate livestock-producing regions.

Read about our selection process for including tools on Climate Kelpie

 

Who this tool is for

Livestock and dairy farmers in temperate Australia who use sown pasture. GrassGro is suitable for any breed of sheep or cattle.

Advisors to producers of livestock and dairy; trained producers can also use GrassGro. It is suitable for enterprises in temperate Australia which use pastures or supplement feeding regimes. GrassGro is suitable for any breed of sheep or cattle.

 

Questions this tool answers

For grazing systems in southern Australia:

  • What stocking rates are appropriate?
  • When should I start shearing?
  • How can I improve my gross margin?
  • What is the best lambing or calving date for my enterprise?
  • Is an annual or a perennial pasture more profitable at this location?
  • What is the likelihood of needing to feed my pregnant ewes in the next 3 months?

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What this tool does

GrassGro uses the current scientific knowledge about pasture systems in temperate Australia to:

  • simulate management options, and allow you to make decisions based on biological and financial inputs
  • analyse opportunities and risks that variable weather imposes on the profitability and sustainability of grazing systems.

It cannot currently be used for:

  • summer-active exotic grasses
  • specialist pasture cultivars (e.g. tetraploid ryegrasses)
  • tropical pasture
  • cropping enterprises

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Inputs

You choose a management question such as:

  • What is the optimal stocking rate?
  • What is my potential hay production?
  • Which pasture performs best?

Then you select:

  • farming system descriptions of livestock, pastures, soil type
  • the management question that you would like to explore: for example, stocking rate, time of lambing, pasture comparison, supplement intake

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Outputs

GrassGro runs a set of simulations, combining:

  • the farm system you selected (including soil types, pastures, livestock and management operations)
  • the management question you selected

GrassGro produces a report on the management question you selected, including:

  • a risk analysis
  • a summary of the biophysical system
  • a financial summary including costs and prices
  • comparison of the treatments you selected
  • effects over years of the management question

A summary report, and further information, is available in the GrassGro brochure, available on the web (pdf 1.13mb)

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Reliability

GrassGro is based on decades of field experimentation from across Australia.

Each version of GrassGro is tested by:

  • comparing GrassGro predictions against data from grazing system experiments at several sites in temperate Australia
  • comparing long simulations at multiple sites for which there are no experimental data

In addition to Australia, GrassGro has been used successfully to simulate grassland systems in North America and northern China.

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History

GrassGro was developed by the CSIRO Agriculture Flagship (formerly CSIRO Plant Industries), Canberra, and was supported by Meat & Livestock Australia and Australian Wool Innovation.

GrassGro has been available commercially since 1997.

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Support available

CSIRO conducts training for GrassGro users. Further information is available on the web:

Technical support is available by contacting:

Email: horizonag@hzn.com.au

Phone: 02 9440 8088

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Where to get it

Web: Horizon Agriculture

Email: horizonag@hzn.com.au

Phone: 02 9440 8088

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Cost

One-off cost

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