Year to year variation in rainfall has been a major factor contributing to both the degradation and recovery of Australia’s grasslands and rangelands. Degradation can be made worse by over-grazing – carrying of too many cattle or sheep, for too long, on areas under stress from drought (McKeon et al. 2004).
The AussieGRASS model monitors key biophysical processes associated with pasture growth (i.e. degradation and recovery) at regional scales (e.g. local government areas or bioregions). AussieGRASS provides long-term time-series of rainfall and pasture growth information, as well as projections for the season ahead, which are useful for forage budgeting, assessing the impacts of drought, and bushfire risk.
AussieGRASS (documented by Carter et al. 2000), is an advanced spatial water balance and plant growth model, producing output on a daily time-step across Australia. The model was initially built on the point-scale GRASP pasture simulation model (Rickert et al. 2000), using the SILO climate data base (Jeffrey et al. 2001), calibrated using satellite data, plus over 600,000 field pasture biomass observations (Hassett et al. 2000). The AussieGRASS system was developed using funding provided partially from the Land & Water Australia (LWA) Climate Variability Program in collaboration with WA, NSW, SA and NT, and has been operational on an Australia-wide basis since 1996.
The Publications page lists a range of publications related to AussieGRASS.