Grass Value

GRASS VALUE OPEN DAYS

Three years of data collection has now been completed under the Grass Value module of the ‘Improving the Welsh Dairy Supply Chain’ project and what contrasting years they have been.

Grass Value officer, John Owen said: “They say that no two years are the same and that certainly has been the case during this project which makes the data collected even more interesting.”

“We have collected a massive amount of data over the last three years which have shown some fascinating trends.”

The Grass Value final results are now ready to be disseminated to the industry and will be revealed at two Open Days. The first event will take place on 17 June, 2014 at Padog Farms Ltd, Pen y Bryn Farm, Pentrefoelas whilst the second event will take place at Gelli Aur College Farm on 19 June, 2014.

Attendees will be asked to attend either a morning (10am-1pm) or an afternoon (12pm-3pm) session and will receive a printed copy of the full Grass Value results. Question and answer sessions will form part of the programme, giving attendees an opportunity to quiz farmers that have participated in the Grass Value project.

Mr Owen added: “The programme for the day will include a farm walk visiting relevant stations throughout the farm and at each of these stations there will be a practical presentation highlighting some of the key findings of the results.

“I would like to believe that these events are a must visit for every farmer looking to improve their grassland management and utilisation.”

Lunch is provided at 12.00pm therefore attendees are requested to register their attendance by calling the Dairy Development Centre on 01554 748570.

 

  • Introduction
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What makes a good grassland dairy farmer?


Producing and managing grass efficiently can give Welsh dairy farmers a major competitive advantage over farmers from other areas of the UK that have less suitable climates to grow grass.

Improving grassland management could be beneficial to all farmers and the three year Grass Value module aims to educate dairy farmers across Wales of the advantages of best practice in grass utilisation to produce milk efficiently.

For this purpose twelve dairy farms from across Wales have been recruited to be part of an intensive recording program. By collecting and collating information from dairy farms that are currently utilising grass well the module aims to demonstrate the results and skills needed to harvest the advantage that we have here in Wales.

All the farms are committed to efficient utilization of grass under different management techniques and hope to improve their own performance by learning from each other. Technicians will visit each of the farms weekly to measure grass growth and collect performance records. The information will then be made available to the farmers via a web based recording package, allowing them to make management decisions based upon the information collated. They will also be able to compare their performances with the other eleven farms.


Information collated on farm will include weekly grass measurements to determine grass production and utilisation. This will be undertaken by two technicians based in North and South Wales in order to guarantee consistency. Other information gathered will include weekly rainfall, soil temperatures, supplementary imputes, fertilizer applied and milk produced.

Further detailed information regarding the financial performances of the farms will be analysed on a monthly basis. All the farms will benefit from using DairyCo’s independent benchmarking system, Milkbench+, which is available to all dairy farmers in Wales.

Each farm will soil sample the whole farm at the start and at the end of the three year module in order to gather a full nutrient status of the farm, and a sward analysis to determine the average percentage of sown grass species in the pastures.

Herd health performance will also be recorded as well as cow body condition and locomotion scoring.

To harness the power of the information collated, provision has been made to analyse all of the information gathered over the three years with the aim of publishing a booklet that will support other farmers wishing to improve their grassland utilization.


For more information regarding the Grass Value module contact John Owen on 01554 748571 or via e-mail: john.owen@colegsirgar.ac.uk



 

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