As the last of the closing covers have now been complete, it won't be long until we start looking at opening covers and spring grazing.

For anyone who has never measured grass before, it is never too late to start and what better time than the start of a new year.

Getting set up now will give you a good start to the year and mean that there will be a full year of data when it comes to the end of 2022.

Having a full year of data increases the accuracy of the end of year reports on PastureBase Ireland (PBI), such as the annual tonnage report and the farm summary report.

Choosing a method

When getting set up, there are a number of methods. The most common of these being the cut-and-weigh or the plate meter.

For the cut-and-weigh system you need a grass sheers, quadrant (50cm x 50cm) a scales in grammes and a bag.

There is a large range of plate meters available, from a basic model that you must record the data to an automatic model that uploads the information to PBI.

Many farmers who have been grass measuring for some time eyeball while grass measuring and this will come in time as you build confidence.

Once you have the equipment for measuring, the next thing you will need is a farm map with the accurate size for each paddock.

By setting up the farm on PBI, you can record your weekly grass walk. This will develop a weekly grass wedge and help with decision making to ensure cows and cattle are grazing the best-quality grass.

An early spring walk should be done in late January or early February to assess grass availability.

During the main growing season, a walk every four to five days will help to keep on top of grass quality.