Livestock producers might someday be able to use hand-held sensors to find out the quality of pasture forages, and even the weight gains of animals that graze them.

The USDA-ARS Grazinglands Research Laboratory at El Reno, OK, recently established an agreement with two Oklahoma companies for designing, manufacturing and marketing low-cost hand-held optical remote sen-sors that can do those things.

Earlier, ARS scientists at El Reno found that spectral reflectance data can show the quality of grasses almost immediately and with accuracy comparable to that of lab analysis. In a side study, they found that the technology can be used to predict weight gains.

The sensors will be developed by Durant Design, Durant, OK, and will be manufactured and marketed by TerraVerde Technologies, Stillwater, OK.