Wednesday 13 December 2017

NASA to help prevent new fodder crisis

Aideen Sheehan

Aideen Sheehan

NASA satellites are being used to monitor Irish grass to help farmers plan better for shortages – and prevent a recurrence of last year's fodder crisis for farmers.

The satellites use infrared light to detect the precise amount of vegetable matter in plants – meaning scientists can work out if their growth is ahead of or behind the seasonal norm.

Researchers from UCC and Teagasc are developing new tools to give farmers predictions for growth and warnings about possible shortages.

This would allow them to buy in more feed in advance, preventing a last-minute scramble for feed from abroad as seen last year.

NASA satellites pass over Ireland every day.

Images taken during the height of the fodder crisis last spring showed starkly how far behind grass growth had been lagging in most of the country at that time – requiring an emergency response by the farming community and Government to source feed for animals.

Irish Independent

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