2015-04-22   facebooktwitterrss

Barenbrug to Help Farmers Sharpen their Sward Skills

Barenbrug, one of the largest grass seed producers in the UK, is launching the Good Grass Guide, a handy, pocket sized booklet designed to help livestock farmers nationwide improve the quality of their pasture and grass swards in order to boost milk and meat yields.

As the cheapest food source for ruminant animals, good quality grass is the basis for profitable livestock farming. The cost of animal feed has risen by 50% since 2007, so there are compelling commercial incentives to maximise top quality homegrown forage by improving grassland and buying in less feed.


Barenbrug’s Good Grass Guide includes a field indexing system against which farmers can benchmark the quality of their grass swards, fields and pastureland. Available in print and online, the guide shows farmers how they can monitor and manage their fields to maximise profit from good grass. The guide centres on a sliding scale for assessing grass quality, with 5 being a highly productive sward and 1 being a field that needs ploughing out.

Livestock farmers are used to monitoring the condition of their herd, with many using the 1 to 5 index to gauge the health of their animals. By taking a similar approach with its field indexing system, Barenbrug will make it easier for farmers to proactively monitor grass sward quality, identify problems and act swiftly to take remedial action.

James Ingles, Head of Agriculture at Barenbrug UK, said: “High yields depend on good grassland management to keep swards in peak condition. The cost of producing a good crop of silage is £30 per tonne; hay is £75 per tonne; while even grazed grass costs £15 per tonne. If sward quality is low, crop yields will be reduced, pushing up the unit cost per tonne. If it costs £30 per tonne to grow a good crop of silage, imagine how much more costly it a poor crop?”

He continued,
“To keep grass cultivation costs sharp and competitive, farmers need to maximise the productivity of their land. It’s essential to maintain swards in the best possible condition to consistently produce the best yields. Our Good Grass Guide is designed to help farmers achieve this and is packed with invaluable guidance, practical advice and useful information.”

The Barenbrug Good Grass Guide will help farmers discover how to monitor and assess the health of their pasture by referencing the following indicators:

  • Index 5: Sward very healthy

  • Index 4: Sward generally healthy

  • Index 3: Sward satisfactory but tired

  • Index 2: Sward at serious risk

  • Index 1: Sward severely damaged

Fields with an index rating of 1 or 2 carry all the overheads without delivering the productivity, with costly yields that fall well below potential. Index 3 swards can be restored and would still be considered worthy of investment. While well-maintained fields that rank at index 4 and 5 can be very profitable, if managed effectively.

Barenbrug’s Good Grass Guide is available to order online or by seeing Barenbrug at a number of different shows throughout 2015.


Related Links
link Exciting Developments at Syngenta to feature at Cereals 2015
link Farmers Advised to Drive Red Diesel Savings into Grass Care
link British Crop Production Council Congress 2015
link Lakeland Dairies Suppliers Embrace SoilSmart Programme

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