Person using laptop on farm

Farming: decision support for farms

CSIRO tools based on scientific research can help farmers to make decisions about managing their farm.

  • 26 February 2007 | Updated 14 October 2011

The GRAZPLAN™ project at CSIRO Plant Industry has developed a series of computer models that are the basis of four commercially available decision support tools.

These tools are intended to help farmers to make decisions about their farm management based on findings from scientific research. They are aimed not only at farmers and farm advisors, but also at industry organisations, agribusiness, banks and insurance companies.

One tool, GrazFeed™, has revolutionised the way pastures and livestock are managed on many Australian farms. It has been adopted extensively, particularly in New South Wales.

GrazFeed™ has helped to revolutionise the way pastures and livestock are managed on many Australian farms.

Another tool, GrassGro™, can assess production risks for grazing enterprises and is used by leading consultants. It is also used for teaching at Australian universities and in overseas projects.

The tools continue to be supported by experimental work on pasture and grazing management with sheep and cattle. The work is being done especially in:

  • diet selection
  • pasture intake
  • response to supplements.

More information is available at the GRAZPLAN™ forum.

MetAccess™ 

MetAccess™ uses daily climate records to help farmers estimate the probable weather conditions at critical times in the production cycle.

This information can be used to make better decisions about suitable crop and pasture varieties. It is also used to set optimum dates for farm operations.

GrazFeed™

GrazFeed™ provides estimates of animal production from available pasture for any breed of sheep or cattle.

It predicts how much supplementary feed, and of what type, might be needed to reach a particular production target.

GrassGro™

GrassGro™ predicts the quantity and quality of feed and animal production which can be expected in a particular paddock uses information about:

  • soils
  • climate
  • animals
  • pasture species.

It will assess the production risk of different combinations of pasture and animals for different soil and climatic conditions.

GrazFeed™ and GrassGro™ are marketed by Horizon Agriculture.

AusFarm™

AusFarm™ is a flexible modeling tool for agricultural enterprises. AusFarm™ can analysise complex management questions in livestock production or mixed crop-livestock systems.

Any process model can be employed with AusFarm™, because simulations are implemented with an innovative 'common modelling protocol' that handles information exchange between the sub-models.

AusFarm™ is only available for research applications.

maNage Wheat

CSIRO has released maNage Wheat, a computer program developed specifically for dryland wheat growers in Victoria and southern NSW.

It enables farmers to estimate the effect of different amounts of nitrogen fertiliser on yield and protein levels under a range of weather and soil conditions.

Western Australian research

CSIRO developed CropMan, a user-friendly computer package that allows farmers in Western Australia to view the effects that various weather and crop decisions have had on crop yield over the last 100 years.

Another tool, LeBuM, allows farmers to determine the suitable lengths of phase rotation to minimise leakage to groundwater.

CSIRO is also looking at the impact of climate change on wheat cropping systems. We are also building a new human/landscape simulation platform to simulate changes, impacts and emerging behaviors on a regional level, in response to:

  • climate
  • market
  • policy changes.

Related information sheets

Read the related information sheets:

Related scientific papers

CSIRO Plant industry scientific papers are available at:

  • AusFarm™, MetAccess™, GrassGro™, GRAZPLAN™ and GrazFeed™ are trademarks of CSIRO Australia.