Speaker's Bio

Grass budgeting is a key management practice on dairy farms to balance grass supply on paddocks with grass demand by the grazing herd. Grass budgets must be pre-emptive to be effective. The uncertainty of grass production and the difficulty in quantifying both current and forecasted rates of growth hamper effective budgeting and paddock management. Grass growth rates are highly variable both in time and space. Therefore, they vary greatly between locations at any given time and also across the season at any given location. Figure 1 shows the pattern of growth rates recorded at the Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland (ARINI) in the two seasons before this project. The GrassCheck project was established in Northern Ireland to quantify current rates of grass growth and grass quality and to predict growth rates for up to 2 weeks in advance. The project will run from 2004 until 2006. This paper outlines the project and reports on its findings after one year.



GrassCheck: Monitoring and Predicting Grass Production in Northern Ireland