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Discover the true potential of grass through DairyCo

Published 18 March 09

DairyCo has set up a study to measure the quality and consistency of well managed grazed grass until the end of the grazing season.

The Grass and Grazing Analysis project measures the grass energy and protein levels fortnightly and growth rates weekly on eight farms across the UK, from Dumfries to Devon, and results are being posted on the DairyCo website. The results will enable farmers to benchmark their own grass analyses with the ones shown on the DairyCo website.

Piers Badnell, DairyCo extension officer for the south west is behind the project: "The aim is to demonstrate the true potential of grazed grass and its consistency in terms of energy and protein if managed well. The farms picked for this season's measurements are examples of excellent grassland management.

"Growth rates will be measured using a rising plate meter weekly. The figure presented by each of the farms is an average of four designated paddocks in the rotation that are representative of the farm and hold their place in the rotation well.

"By looking at the results farmers will be able to see how much milk can potentially come from grass, and can then maybe get some of their own grass analysed and see how it compares," Piers says. "A test is about £12 so potentially it's a really good investment.

"Farmers would never feed silage in the winter ration without some idea of its worth and we should be taking the same approach with grazed grass. Your management can have an effect on the content and persistence of ME and CP in grass, the only part of the analysis you can't control is the dry matter but these fluctuations can be managed if you know your ME and CP and manage your grass well."

Visit the DairyCo website at www.dairyco.org.uk to follow the project.

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