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Do you know the size of your paddocks?

Knowing the exact areas of your paddocks on farm is an extremely useful piece of information related to your everyday decision making but has not always been an easy piece of information to confirm. On farm decisions relating to ordering quantities of fertiliser, seed, chemicals, lime to name a few as well as determining stocking rates run all require a knowledge of paddock size.

We recently have been made aware of a free web based program that can be downloaded to your computer and used easily to calculate paddock areas or simply to just determine distances from one point to another.

The free program is called Google Earth Pro. Below is the website address that will allow you to download the program to your computer.

https://www.google.com/earth/download/gep/agree.html

‎In order to sign into the program you will need to use your email address as your username and a site key code titled ‘GEPFREE’.

Once in the program, under the Search section type in your property address and the program will zoom in and show a picture of the location in question. In order to determine paddock areas choose the ‘Tools’ category on the menu bar, then choose ‘Ruler’ option and then choose the ‘Polygon’ tab. A text box will appear and one of the items to be measured will be Area. There is a drop down box here where you can stipulate what units you wish to measure area in. When you put the cursor over the map it becomes a small square that you can begin using to outline paddocks. This is done by using the mouse to click on corners of a paddock to define the perimeter. Once the perimeter is defined the total area is then listed in the text box. These details can be saved for the paddock by clicking the ‘save’ button at the bottom of the text box. This is when you will be asked to give the paddock a name. However note this step does not put a permanent paddock name label on the map. In order to do this you need to add a ‘Placemark’ label by selecting the ‘Add’ category on the menu bar. Then select ‘Placemark’ option and type in the paddock name and area so that it is always visible on the map.

The image can also be saved and printed. This could be potentially a useful map to be given to contractors carrying out operations like fertilizer spreading, sowing, hay making and so on.

At the bottom of the screen there is also an elevation reading which permanently appears. As you move the cursor over the property map an elevation reading can be observed for all locations.

There appear to be many more things this mapping program can do however this area calculation feature is simple and easy to do and provides you with a very useful output that can help with the day to day activities occurring on farm.

Fiona Leech
Senior Land Services Officer (Mixed Farming Systems)
Fiona.Leech@lls.nsw.gov.au