The objective of this study is to develop a remote sensing-based method to estimate both forage quality and botanical composition in grass-legume mixture stands in the field. As a consequence, the methods developed will assist better decision making on forage production.
Farmers make decisions on the timing of harvest based on their assessment of forage quality (e.g. NDF, digestibility), due to its key role in dairy and meat production of ruminant animals. In addition to forage quality, the contribution of the legume component in the forage mixture is as important parameter for decision making e.g. N fertilization rate, seedling sowing, determination of harvest date, etc. However, there has been few spectral model for estimation of forage quality and legume contribution in northern Sweden, where the arable land is dominated by leys. Therefore, to help farmers make better decision on timing of harvest in order to achieve high forage quality, a good estimation of forage quality attributes and botanical composition is highly needed.
To investigate the applicability of remote sensors on forage quality and botanical composition, plant sampling and remote sensing measurement will be conducted in existing experiments from the following 4 sites in Northern Sweden: Röbäcksdalen, Lännäs, Ås, and Öjebyn. In addition, a new experiment will be set up at Röbäcksdalen to facilitate the measurement of botanical composition, quality of forage and remote sensing measurements.