GrassMax is a decision support tool for grass-based livestock farmers. The app measures grass using a combination of satellite technology and hyper-local weather forecasting, outlined by grassland digital specialist at Origin Enterprises Kieran Holden.
“The satellite-based grass cover is updated automatically every four to six days, getting an accuracy within 75kg to 100kg DM/ha. Data taken from farmers that manually measure grass shows a time saving of up to three hours per farm on average compared to manually measuring,” Kieran says.
Kieran explained that it also creates nutrient management plans for farmers, including fertiliser, slurry and lime applications to maximise nitrogen use efficiency.
It monitors fertiliser applied on farm to date, which will aid farmers keep within allowance thresholds regarding the new fertiliser database.
The app creates suggestions to farmers for informed decision making around nutrient application and grassland management.
It will suggest when to take out surplus grass and also suggest fertiliser type and application rate to individual paddocks based on soil fertility.
There are currently 50 demo farms across Ireland using GrassMax. It is not currently commercially available to farmers, but Kieran is hopeful to get it on the market soon.
Presently, GrassMax will not suffice for nitrates derogation farmers for minimum grass walks per year, but there are ongoing talks with the Department of Agriculture for GrassMax to be eligible in the future.
With every subscription of GrassMax, farmers will be given two collars to put on cows that will detect which paddock cows are currently grazing in at any time. This eliminates farmers' need to input when cows finish grazing a paddock.
There are also future plans to further develop GrassMax, according to Kieran: “We hope to further develop the app to allow farmers use satellite technology to record biodiversity and hedgerows on farms in which they can calculate their space for nature.”