The latest from AHDB on grass and forage management
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Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

Forage for knowledge

The latest from AHDB on grass and forage management

July 2018

Welcome to July's Forage for Knowledge, AHDB’s bi-monthly newsletter bringing you the latest research and advice on grass, forage and soil management.

With the hot and dry weather set to continue, grazing continues to be a challenge for many farms. This issue of Forage for Knowledge looks at managing the situation now as well as looking ahead to when the rain eventually arrives.

We hope you enjoy reading this issue and if you have any comments or content contributions you would like to make please feel free to get in touch.

Do it now - managing your grass once the rain comes

Currently across most of the UK, soil is severely moisture deficient and over 75 mm of rain is needed to return the soil back to field capacity. 

Find out how to best manage you grass once the rain arrives here.

Expert view - novel grasses to help combat soil compaction

New research shows that novel Festulolium grasses are more resistant to compaction than traditional grass varieties due to their ability to develop roots in compacted soils.

Nuwan Muhandiram of IBERS tells us more.

Managing drought conditions

The recent hot weather and low rainfall has resulted in an agricultural drought situation with June's soil moisture the driest on record for GB as a whole. With average grass growth continuing to fall across Forage for Knowledge farms, here are some tips to manage drought conditions. Read more here.

Beef & Sheep farmer Matt Blyth discuss future grazing

AHDB recently held an event with Matt Blyth and his grazing consultant, Charlie Morgan to discuss the future grazing policy at Didlings Farm.

Find out what on farm improvements he is making to his grazing here.


Latest grass analysis

Another week of dry and warm weather has forced average grass growth down a further 2.45kg DM/ha to 17.1 kg DM/ha across our contributor farms this week – falling further behind the 57.7 kg DM/ha recorded at the same time last year. Variation across our farms between the highest and lowest growth rates are still high with a difference of 34.3 kg DM/ha noted.

See grass growth rates across GB.

Brimstone Dairy Farm sees benefits from focussing on grassland management

Placing improving grassland management on the top of the agenda at Brimstone Farm, Wiltshire, is starting to pay dividends with milk from forage forecasted to increase by 699 litres/cow from 2018. Read more here.

The value of lucerne silage

The current dry spell has made farmers think about the need to have 'not just grass'. The amount of lucerne seed sold has been increasing over the last few years, especially since pure stands were included in greening rules of the Basic Payment Scheme. Find out why.

Boost your forage knowledge
Livestock in arable rotation 

Challenged with the effects of a dry summer, livestock farmers are encouraged to evaluate forage stocks and consider options to fill the forage shortage gap, extend the grazing season and outwintering to ease the forage demand over the coming winter months. Learn more here.

Event report - the European Grassland Federation

In June, Ireland welcomed the European Grassland Federation (EGF) 27th General Meeting for the first time since 1988. The main theme this year was ‘Sustainable Meat and Milk Production from Grassland’ focusing on economic, social and environmental themes. Catch up here.


Upcoming cross sector events

  • GREATsoils: Improving soil management for reseeding - various dates and locations. Learn more.
  • Grow More, Graze More, Earn More - various dates and locations. Learn more.