The first GrassCheck bulletin of 2019 is being published this week. Grass growth and quality data along with meteorological data from dairy, beef and sheep farms spread right across Northern Ireland will feed into the AgriSearch and AFBI led GrassCheck initiative.
The programme, which aims to provide livestock farmers with the latest grass growth and quality information to assist in managing grass throughout the season, has shown the real potential of grassland in Northern Ireland.
Throughout 2018, dairy, beef and sheep farms achieved an average grass yield of 11.7, 10.4 and 9.4t DM/ha respectively, considerably above the national average. These yields were produced despite some challenging dry conditions in the east of the Province, which resulted in 1.8 t DM/ha deficit in June and July last year.
AgriSearch General Manager Jason Rankin said: “GrassCheck is AgriSearch’s flagship project. We received very positive feedback from farmers on the new on-farm element of the project which was first rolled out in 2017 and expanded further in 2018. This represents a real partnership between the farmers, AgriSearch and AFBI. GrassCheck is now recognised nationally and internationally as an exemplar of on-farm research, innovation and knowledge exchange.”
The GrassCheck bulletin will appear in the local farming press. More detailed information can be viewed on the GrassCheck website www.agrisearch.org/grasscheck and through the GrassCheck social media accounts.
GrassCheck is supported by DAERA, CIEL and CAFRE.