Forage for Knowledge

Make the most of your farm's potential with the latest regional grass growth and quality data and analysis, updates and resources.

Stay updated with the latest advice to make informed decisions, whether it's about adding an extra paddock for silage and assessing its impact on demand or ensuring that the growth rate aligns with your requirements.

Utilise the grass growth wedge to gauge potential surpluses or deficits and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Access the Forage For Knowledge database and resources to effectively manage risks and enhance your decision-making process.

Latest grass growth data

Use the interactive dashboard to view the latest regional grass growth and quality data.

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Grass growth commentary and advice

Pasture to Profit consultant Piers Badnell will provide comments (usually, every two weeks) throughout the main grass growing season. Read the latest below.

18 July 2024

This week has seen a wide variation in growth rates, ranging from 20 to 80 kg DM/ha/day, with an average around 60 kg DM/ha/day.

This suggests that some areas have had sufficient rain to boost growth, while others have not.

Temperatures are nearing seasonal norms. If you've had rain and observed good growth, dig a hole to check your soil moisture levels. Consider the forecast for rain and your soil type to estimate growth in the next round.

Currently, average covers should be between 2100 and 2300 kg DM/ha, depending on your entry cover. With stronger growth and higher average covers than mentioned, you might need to remove the surplus.

For those with lower average covers and growth, be cautious about dropping below 2000 kg DM/ha, as regrowth will be slow and below 2000 kg DM/ha could lead to a tailspin to nothing. It's better to feed a little supplement early rather than a lot later.

The last few weeks I have been out and about with discussion group trips and one thing that has caught my eye are maize crops with the majority late in and some into less-than-ideal seedbeds due to the spring “autumn-winter-spring wet”.

They are behind, we don’t seem to have any heat in the forecast so will your crops yield as well, will they mature in time, will you get the starch and as such the megajoules of energy you expect? Do you have to put contingencies in place for a late harvest and lower yield and quality?

Following on from this have you done a feed budget through to balance day 2025, how much forage do you require, what classes of stock have you and how much do they need?

Dry cow feed should mostly be available as late cuts and hay and haylage seem to be aplenty, but you'll need to ensure you have enough milking silage and quality silage to make heifers grow.

It's a good time to assess your silage pits, which may contain first, second, and some third cuts. Determine how much is there and if you can get another cut, then assess the quality.

A number of people sneer or have their doubts about standard silage analysis, if that’s you then try wet chemistry it is more expensive but very accurate and if you look at the turnover of your business it’s a tiny cost. Accurate analysis allows you to make good decisions that will save you money.

We had a wet spring and some paddocks that got trodden have suffered in terms of growth, what to do?

On a farm recently I walked a paddock like this with my host, we dug a couple of holes, and there were blocky aggregates, but they were less than 5 cm and they broke apart easily and there were healthy new roots below their level, so they were not a barrier to roots.

Based on the Healthy Grassland Soils booklet, we decided to reassess in 6 months. However, paddock yield was down so we then looked at grass species.

We noticed more weed species than expected, leading to the conclusion that reseeding was necessary. My host preferred stitching in over full ploughing, so it needed to be really beaten up before stitching in.

To suppress competition, you need proper soil preparation, seed-to-soil contact, consolidation, and moisture.

Most rounds are 2128 days this time of year. Planting weekly gives you 3-4 chances to modify to hit the sweet spot.



This data set also includes grass growth and quality data from the AHDB-sponsored beef and sheep GrassCheck GB contributors in England.

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