Teagasc Grassland Management Series

More and more farmers are using PastureBase Ireland (PBI), the Teagasc grassland management software programme, which has gained significant momentum in recent years.

PastureBase Ireland is designed to help dairy, beef and sheep farmers manage all aspects of grassland on their farms and is available on computer browser and on a smartphone app.

There is a clear link between grass utilisation and farm profitability, with every extra tonne of grass utilised equating to €173/ha of extra profit on dairy farms and an extra €105/ha profit on drystock farms.

When comparing data from the Teagasc National Farm Survey (NFS) with PBI, it is clear that farmers who are using PBI are utilising more grass (7 vs 10t/DM/ha) and subsequently should be more profitable.

Grass growth over the last three years

By recording a farm cover on PBI you will quantify how much grass is on your farm. This is important information for grassland management on your farm today, however after completing a full year of grass measurement, PBI will calculate the annual amount of grass grown on the farm.

Underperforming paddocks are highlighted and action is required. After a number of years measuring grass you will be able to build a grass growth profile for your farm.

As a result you will be able to determine the correct stocking rate for your farm on an average year. This will future-proof the profitability of your farm.

Planning ahead – grassland management

Measuring farm cover is a very important job on every farm, but what you do with the information afterwards is more critical and alleviates farmer stress.

The projected grass growth wedge is a tool used to see what the wedge will look like in seven days time. This gives the farmer the confidence to take out the extra paddock for surplus bales, or on the flip side to slow down the level of grazing by increasing supplementation.

Another tool is the weekly planner which is available on the browser and the app which gives the farmer a grazing plan for the next few days, by calculating the pre-grazing yield when the livestock enter the paddock.

Analysing the data

Currently you can view the group report to see information from the farms you are sharing data with; the annual tonnage report; along with the fertiliser reports.

A milk report is also available, while a new grass report now gives information on the farm over the last number of years for you to disseminate. These reports will give you the confidence to make changes to your farming enterprise and thus reap the maximum reward.

You are not alone – help is at hand

Grass measuring and using PBI can seem very daunting at first, but there is plenty of help at hand.

Teagasc has an experienced advisory network that covers all of the country and are willing to help you get started.

Other supports include the Teagasc PBI team who can guide you through the process and the dedicated help centre website where there are videos and documents to show you how to use PBI.

There are also Grass10 farmer groups nationwide, which have a clear focus on familiarising farmers with measuring and budgeting grass better throughout the year.

PastureBase Ireland is always improving the range of tools it provides to its clients with two new additions; a nitrogen planner and mapping tool which will be available in early summer.

PastureBase Ireland is available to all Teagasc clients. If you wish to sign up or require more information please contact your Teagasc advisor, or call our dedicated help centre 046-9200965 or email [email protected]

Visit https://www.teagasc.ie/crops/grassland/pasturebase-ireland/ for more information.