Importance of grass monitoring highlighted amid busy times for PastureBase

Weekly monitoring farm grass covers is an essential part of good grassland management at this time of year, according to PastureBase Ireland (PBI), which has recently undergone significant change.

Teagasc set up PastureBase Ireland as a web-based grassland measurement database for farmers.

It merged with AgriNet Grass as part of a “strategic step forward for Irish farmers in grassland management”.

Over the past number of months AgriNet Grass users are being transferred to PBI with the objective of having just one grassland data base for all grassland farmers.

While acknowledging that this is a significant change for AgriNet Grass users, it will be of benefit to all grassland farmers in Ireland, according to Teagasc.

Currently PBI is undergoing a number of developments to make it more “farmer-friendly”. The objective in the long term is to make PBI much better with new added tools.

The following are significant developments being completed:
  •  A new invitations section allows users to share their data with other farmers / discussion groups and advisors. This section was subject to new data protection guidelines so, for all AgriNet Grass users, all old linkages need to be recreated in PBI;
  • The milk data link with Glanbia is now live – Glanbia will be in contact with farmers directly regarding the link-up. Co-ops such as Arrabawn, Aurivo, Dairygold, Glanbia, Kerry and Lakeland have all their milk input coming into PBI. It’s hoped by year end, that all co-ops will have this facility available to farmers;
  • The projected grass wedge and planner have been released to the system;
  • An android offline app will be released in the coming days and the offline iOS app will be available in mid-June. PBI can be used if internet is available; however, on many farms this is not the case.

The new app will speed up data entry for farmers out in the field, organisers say.

Both Teagasc and AgriNet Grass have expressed gratitude to participating farmers for their patience in getting the migration process completed; the new data protection regulations held up this process at different stages.

The recent release of the projected wedge and planner – and expected unveiling of the offline app in the next few days – “should greatly aid farmers in the recording of grass covers, graze dates, fertiliser application and milk data offline”, according to Teagasc.

Offline app

The use of the offline app was probably underestimated in the development of PBI; many farmers use this tool and it clearly highlights the lack of good internet access on many farms.

In early June a number of meetings will be held with grassland farmers to plan further developments of PBI to improve the usability of the system.

PastureBase Ireland has a dedicated help desk where there are a number of tutorial videos available on how to use different options. For those interested, more information is available on the PastureBase Ireland website.