Making More from Sheep Australian Wool Innovation Limited Meat & Livestock Australia
MODULE 8: Turn Pasture into Product
Tool 8.1
Previous Index Next

Developed with leading beef and sheep producers by MLA and the Bureau of Rural Sciences (BRS), the Rainfall to Pasture Growth Outlook tool shows actual rainfall and indices of soil moisture and pasture growth for the past nine months and an outlook for the next three months for more than 3,300 locations across southern Australia. More importantly (because the Outlook tool has little or no predictive power), the tools displays median pasture growth indices for each week of the year based on historical rainfall and temperature records and the variation about that median point for each week of the year. The curves that result essentially show the pattern of pasture growth for a ‘moderate’ year, as compared to an ‘excellent’ or very poor year.

To create your free account and start using the Rainfall to Pasture Growth Outlook tool, follow the instructions below:

  • Go to the website: http://www.mla.com.au/News-and-resources/Tools-and-calculators/Rainfall-to-pasture-growth-outlook-tool 
  • If you haven't used the tool before you are likely to save time by viewing the 5 short video tutorials.You may also like to download the Tips and Tools fact-sheet available on this page.
  • Access the Rainfall to Pasture Growth Outlook tool.
  • Select a weather station. If you want to set a home weather station, or set a list of stations you will use regularly, create a free user account by clicking the register tab and filling the fields. This will save you having to search for a weather station each time you use the tool.

How the tool can help

The Rainfall to Pasture Growth Outlook tool takes the guess-work out of strategically planning the least risky time periods for a number of very important decisions, including:

  • What classes of stock should I have on the property at different times of year?
  • When should I be lambing?
  • When should I wean?
  • When should I aim to sell - lambs or surplus sheep?
  • What pasture growth patterns could I have?
  • How risky is spending money on pasture improvement?

Note: Because the tool covers such a diverse range of soil and pasture types across southern Australia, it provides an index of potential pasture growth, not a prediction of actual growth. The pasture growth index should be interpreted in light of local knowledge as to species, soil type, fertiliser history and aspect.