May 2018
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Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

Forage for knowledge

The latest from AHDB on grass and forage management

May 2018

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

Grass growth has generally been lower this spring due to the cold and wet weather and we have advice on how this could affect yield and quality. However, the recent improvement in the weather has brought with it an increase in grass growth and so you can also read about managing high covers. 

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 - Assessing paddock performance in time for autumn reseeds

Weekly monitoring of grass growth and paddock performance provides a wealth of information for assessing how well paddocks bounce back following the slow and wet spring.

Find out how assessing the pasture can help you make a decision on whether to reseed.


Expert view

New farming rules for water were introduced on 2 April 2018 and it’s important for farmers to understand how they could affect them.

Dave Freeman from the Agricultural Industries Confederation tells us more.

How to - Deal with high grass covers

A challenging spring causing delays in both turnout and the completion of the first rotation, followed by a take-off in grass growth has left many with a grass surplus. Now is the time to address high grass covers in order to optimise pasture quality this summer. Read more here.

Event report

Event season is in full swing and we have recently had stands at Grassland UK and the Royal Welsh Grassland show where we launched the 2018/19 RGCL. AHDB Dairy has also held their spring farm walks. Read more here.


Dairy case study - Matt Ford

Overseas visits, discussion groups and harnessing social media have all played a part in realising East Sussex dairy farmer Matt Ford’s ambition to run an autumn block calving herd and rotational grazing system. Read more here.

Things to think about for silage after the spring of 2018

Generally grass growth has been lower this spring due to the cold and wet conditions, although recovery has happened after some nicer spells of weather. Find out how this could affect yield and quality here.

Latest grass analysis

Average daily growth rates are up 2.4kg DM/ha to 79kg DM/ha across our contributor farms this week. Growth is still ahead of the 60.9kg DM/ha recorded in mid-May last year.

The variation between the highest and lowest rates continues to increase with a difference of 122.4kg DM/ha noted.

See grass growth rates across GB.

Upcoming events

Beef & Lamb


  • Grow more, graze more, earn more, Leicestershire - 13 June
  • Grow more, graze more, earn more, Nottinghamshire - 14 June
  • Controlling costs in a high yielding herd, Huddersfield - 24 May