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Measure your grass - don't guess

3-7-2020

Grazed grass when managed well will reduce input costs, especially bought in feed and gives excellent returns in terms of production and profit. Measuring pasture cover provides useful information for feed budgeting and rotation planning to optimise grazing management.

Checking covers is important to ensure paddocks are not grazed too hard but when there is a higher grass growth it is also important to make sure that grass is not wasted by grazing too late.

Expensive equipment is not required to assess grass growth, walking paddocks and checking growth will help assess grass stocks better than just looking over the gate. Good management and utilisation will reduce the cost of production.

Maximising utilisation

Utilisation of grass is often below 50 % but can be up to 80% with good management. Optimum daily grass growth is reached when total growth is 2,000 – 2,500 kg DM / ha which is around a height of 8 – 12 cm. Ideal grazing takes place at the 3rd leaf stage. Grazing too low (below the 2nd leaf stage) can reduce growth by up to 85%.

Knowing when to graze grass and for how long can be supported by using a ForFarmers sward stick.The sward stick is designed to measure grass growth and help in deciding when to turn livestock out. This valuable information can then be used in supporting decision making and for longer term seasonal and year on year assessments and adjustments. The performance of each paddock can also be reviewed to make any decisions with regards to reseeding programmes.

Measure accurately

sward stick

Top tips from our team of Forage Specialist's:

  1. Use the sward stick weekly to build up a log of the grass growing information.
  2. Monitor the sward height following a similar route each time.
  3. Take a minimum of 30 readings per field.
  4. Record your data and calculate an average.

 

To register for a free sward stick please fill in the form below. A member of our Forage team will then send you one in the post.

Register for a free sward stick



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