NI farmer-funded research body, AgriSearch, has confirmed it is investing over £400,000 in its flagship GrassCheck programme across the next three years.

The initiative, led by AgriSearch, AFBI and CAFRE, monitors weekly grass growth on NI farms and also provides valuable information on year-on-year variations.

However, the main GrassCheck plots at Greenmount and AFBI Hillsborough have traditionally received high fertiliser inputs (270kgN/ha), which is probably not reflective of the situation on most farms.

“We recognise that these are changing times for agriculture and that GrassCheck needs to adapt to these challenges. The next phase of GrassCheck will seek to expand grass growth monitoring to include swards containing significant levels of clover and using low levels of manufactured N fertiliser,” confirmed GrassCheck general manager Jason Rankin.

Applications have opened for new farmers to become part of the GrassCheck network. In particular, AgriSearch would like to get applications from dairy farms in Fermanagh, and all farm types in Armagh, north and east Antrim, south Derry and north Tyrone. They would also like to hear from interested farmers who have significant levels of clover in their swards and who sow little or no N fertiliser.

Participating farmers will be expected to measure their grazing platform on a weekly basis throughout the grazing season using a platemeter.

For anyone interested in taking part, further details are available on the AgriSearch website, Applications close on Monday 19 December.

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