Matching grazing animals with the right forage may soon be quicker and easier, thanks to remote sensing.

An Agricultural Research Service study has revealed little difference between forage nutrient data collected in the field by a portable lightwave reading machine and information obtained through conventional lab analysis.

Ready for use in hours, not days

The one notable difference: remotely acquired information was ready for use in hours, as opposed to the days it took to get the lab data.

The study was led by soil scientist Patrick Starks of ARS' Great Plains Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research Unit in El Reno, Okla., and Samuel Coleman of ARS' Subtropical Agricultural Research Station in Brooksville, Fla. ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.