Decision support tools for grazing land management

Understanding your grazing land, its condition and productivity, will help you manage your stock numbers to match pasture supply and minimise stress on stock, pastures, soil and bank balances.

Monitoring pasture condition will help you to notice changes in your pasture landscape early so that you can alter your grazing management to maintain good ground cover and land condition. These grazing land management (GLM) strategies will help ensure your country responds quickly and productively when it rains while reducing soil loss and erosion.

Monitoring your ground cover across your property over time allows you to see what impact past decision and events like stocking rates, fence-placement and fires had on your grazing lands.

Monitoring also includes inspecting and taking photo records on an annual basis, or more frequently if possible, to observe pasture condition, composition and yield. Documenting this information will help you to easily compare with previous seasons.

There are a number of GLM tools available that can help you to understand your grazing land, manage your stocking rates, monitor your land condition and help you understand the influence of season and management decisions on your ground cover.

Which GLM decision support tool is going to be useful for your situation?

Here’s a simple checklist of four tools that may assist you to make informed decisions about grazing, pasture and land management on your property.

Four decision support tools that are useful include:

FORAGE is a web-based system which generates and distributes property-scale information relating to climate, pasture, ground cover, tree density and soil erodibility.  FORAGE combines information such as SILO climate data, satellite imagery, and modelled pasture growth into selectable reports. The types of reports available include:

  • Rainfall and pasture
  • Rainfall and pasture by land type
  • Indicative land types
  • Ground cover: standard and regional comparison
  • Rainfall and pasture growth outlook
  • Crop frequency
  • Drought assessment
  • Erodible soils
  • Foliage projective cover
  • Regional climate projections

Visit The LongPaddock or contact the DAF Customer Call Centre on 13 25 23 (in Queensland).

To help you get the hang of using FORAGE, we’ve created four short videos to introduce you to FORAGE and show you how FORAGE could help to answer some of the questions you might ask when you’re planning your grazing management.

  1. FORAGE awareness: This short video introduces the FORAGE land management information system and shows how you might apply FORAGE to your grazing land management decision-making.
  2. Agistment and using FORAGE: This video discusses the questions you might ask when you are considering suitable areas to agist your cattle. It highlights the FORAGE report/ s that provide useful information about growing seasons, pasture growth and quality, and water availability.
  3. Body condition and using FORAGE: This video discusses the importance of pasture quality and quantity in maintaining the body condition of your cattle for breeding, growing and finishing. FORAGE rainfall and pasture growth reports provide information that may be helpful in determining whether your paddocks can supply enough pasture to maintain body condition of your cattle
  4. Managing land condition using FORAGE: This video discusses four key FORAGE reports that can help you to assess and manage ground cover and land condition on your property.

VegMachine online is an interactive online tool that uses satellite imagery to summarise decades of ground cover change in Australia’s grazing lands. Through comprehensive ground cover monitoring reports, measurements of land cover change or estimates of soil erosion rates users can obtain a better understanding of the links between management, climate and cover in grazing lands.


The FarmMap4D (previously known as NRM Spatial Hub) is a web-based tool that combines geospatial mapping technologies with time-series ground cover satellite imagery (equivalent to the data within VegMachine online) to optimise grazing pressure and land condition, and allow land managers to make more informed decisions.

Visit for more information.

The Stocktake GLM app is a paddock-scale land condition monitoring and management tool that provides grazing land managers with a practical and systematic way to assess land condition and to calculate long-term carrying capacity and short-term forage budgets.