The first thing that is needed on every farm is a farm map.
You need to split you farm into individual paddocks, numbering them and establishing the size in hectares.
Every farmer should have a copy of this printed off and laminated on their farm.
However, in recent years, more farmers are getting the farm map printed on a whiteboard and hanging it up on the farm.
This is especially useful when you have more than one person working on the farm or have contractors coming in regularly.
Mapping your farm
You can find the area of paddocks through Google Maps or apps such as FieldAreaMeasure, which will help you map your farm yourself.
However, the likes of Grasstec will come out to your farm and map out paddocks for you and give you back farm maps with the options of getting it printed on a whiteboard as well.
This can be costly, but it’s a once-off investment that will definitely be used on a regular basis, especially where there are staff hired on-farm.
Once you have the farm mapped, you need to get set up on PastureBase - this is free for all farmers and a great tool.
PastureBase is an online system where you can record all your information with regards to grassland management, from grass walks and reseeding to fertiliser applications and soil test results.
The PastureBase system has a number of features that will aid you in managing grass throughout the year and give you back lots of valuable information at the end of the year about your farm.
You can join PastureBase by calling 046-920 0965.
The next thing you need to do is buy grass measuring equipment. Every farmer should have grass measuring equipment on-farm. This can be a plate meter or just a clippers, scales and quadrant.
My preference would be for the clippers, scales and quadrant. It is a great way to get your eye trained into grass measuring and is very accurate, as you can take dry matters into account and you’ll know exactly what cover is in the quadrant in front of you.
The clippers can be bought in most DIY stores. The scales are a bit harder to source, but can be picked up online. You are looking for a scales that measure in grammes.
The quadrant is easy to make - all you are looking for is a square that is 500cm x 500cm. You can also purchase all three items off Grasstec - you may pay a little extra, but it’s a handy one-stop shop.
Sign up to a grassland management course to get the full value out of all the above investments - every farmer needs to do a grassland management course for at least one year across the grazing season.
The value you can get from learning how to use the PastureBase system correctly is massive, not only to the profitability of your farm, but also in helping decision-making on-farm a lot easier.
After spending the last two years training over 200 farmers in grassland management and seeing farmers who were already measuring and managing grass at a high level learning and excelling from doing a grass course, I recommend that every farmer should do one.
You can now register in our grassland management courses by emailing email@example.com or calling 087-669 6490.