Patía, Cauca department

Next week, we`ll be visiting smallholder farmers at Patía in Cauca department to carry out mapping exercises, walking interviews and semi-structured interviews to establish current farmers’ practices to assess forage health and productivity; understand how they make pasture-improvement decisions and how much of a concern forage productivity is for them. Attitudes and eventual barriers to the use of new technology will be explored, along with different personal and contextual factors: socio-economic, agro-ecological, institutional, farmer’s perception, behavioral and technological factors.

After some trial and error and conversion from ISO to ANSI paper sizes we got our posters printed. Dr Marcela Ramos displaying some of the initial attempts and the final outputs (copy of El País newspaper for scale!). These will be used to help identify how smallholders can benefit from incorporating information derived from remote sensing into their practice, from their perspective. Satellite, UAV and in situ measurements will also be collected at five farms in this region to supplement the dataset being acquired at CIAT headquarters.

Colombian departments with the municipality of Patía in Cauca department highlighted in yellow.



UAV data acquisitions

At our trial site at CIAT headquarters, we have been acquiring weekly Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) acquisitions and coincident ground measurements over multiple 20m x 20m subplots of Brachiaria humidicola, Brachiaria Mulato and Brachiaria Brizantha Marandu. The slide show below outlines some of the process. We`re combining these observations with satellite acquisitions to develop a multi-source remote sensing based approach to monitor and manage tropical forage-based production systems.

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July visit to CIAT


Between 30th June – 5th July, I visited Cali and CIAT to meet with our CIAT collaborators, update on progress from both the University of Glasgow and University of Bristol and discuss strategies to enhance our sampling at CIAT headquarters and Cauca. My visit coincided with that of Jon Moorby and some of his team from IBERS (Aberystywth University) and it was a great opportunity to discuss synergies between the two projects and identify how our respective sampling can complement both projects. Intensive field sampling campaigns are being undertaken to provide the data necessary to calibrate and validate our remote-sensing derived models for forage quality and biomass prediction.

Some pictures below from the Brachiaria test plots from which we are sampling.