Sward assessment

Regular monitoring of swards for growth and quality is the second element in the DairyCo 3-Step Sward Management System. It involves assessing pre- and post-graze points for individual pastures by field cover measurement using a plate meter or the three leaf system and evaluating quality.

Field Cover Measurement

A rising plate meter should be used to get assessments field cover. The relationship between measured height and field cover is imperfect, but provided the same assumptions are made throughout it can be a valuable guide.

Rising Plate Meters

There are two types of plate meter; the mechanical and the electronic. Both work in the same way and provide an accurate and convenient way to measure and assess field covers. The plate meter measures both height and density of the sward. This height is measured in compressed centimetres and then converted into kilos of dry matter per hectare via an equation.