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Grass and Satellite Imaging – see Teagasc researcher Stuart Green on the Science Squad television series tonight on RTÉ 1 at 7.30pm

With the recent fodder crisis and high agricultural industry growth targets set for 2020, growing the nation’s most important crop has become very serious business. Stuart Green, a remote sensing specialist at Teagasc’s Spatial Analysis Unit in Ashtown, tells presenter Kathriona Devereux how we are now using NASA and the ESA’s satellite technology to monitor grass growth using infra-red technology tonight on The Science Squad. It’s a research project that quite literally involves watching grass grow!

Using satellites to observe plant growth is a well developed technological service used across the globe, especially in tillage and horticulture. Measuring grass levels in a highly managed landscape like Ireland is much less developed.

Tonight on The Science Squad, Stuart Green describes the work that Teagasc, in collaboration with colleague Dr Fiona Cawkell in UCC, is doing in this area:“It's hoped that within a short time we will be able to offer farmers estimates of current growing conditions, growth rate predictions and management advice such as when to turn out cattle from winter housing,” explains Stuart.

This sort of service is an example of precision agriculture: using technology to help farmers reduce inputs, manage their time and plan for the future.

“Focussing on grass and the delivery of plain, easily used, advice over the mobile phone means that the benefits of this technology will be available to all farmers regardless of size or system," says Stuart.

The Science Squad will be broadcast on RTÉ 1 Friday October 4 at 7.30pm.

Stuart Green, Teagasc explains how the daily feeds of satellite data from NASA are used within the project to presenter Kathriona Devereux.