Freshgrass Check can be carried out for various reasons. In addition to your own visual assessment of the grass in the meadow, you will also benefit from knowing the specific nutritional value of the fresh grass.
The Freshgrass Check is necessary to help you:
- Determine the ideal time for harvesting.
- Have clarity about what cows eat during the grazing season.
- Fine-tune fertilisation.
When is the ideal time to mow? Ask this question to a group of dairy farmers and you will get all kinds of answers! Practical arguments often play a role, too, such as the weather or the availability of the contractor. We see a trend of more and more dairy farmers choosing not to leave mowing to chance. The length of the grass may be easy to judge, but what about the nutritional characteristics? Is the grass already 'ripe' to be harvested for perfect feed value? A fresh grass sample can provide a lot of useful information on this, with a result given within five working days.
Choosing the right moment to start harvesting has a big impact on the feed value in the silage and therefore on the next stable season. The ideal mowing time is not the same for every dairy farmer, however, as it is related to the geographical location of the farm (due to differences in temperature and precipitation), the history of the field (whether it is old or new grassland, for example), the fertilisation strategy, the type of soil and, last but not least, the dairy farmer's ration requirements. Are you feeding fodder beet, for example? Then you probably have different requirements for silage than a fellow dairy farmer who has a large share of silage maize in the ration.
What are the animals eating in the pasture?
When the cows are in the barn, you know in detail what is in the forage they consume. Based on this, the ration is put together in order to ensure healthy cows and optimise milk production. But what about cows that graze in the pasture? What's in the fresh grass? It is a good idea to investigate that, too – and more and more dairy farmers are doing just that. In this way, nothing is left to chance and the amount of concentrated feed during the grazing season can be adjusted accordingly.
Finally, the analysis of fresh grass is also useful for assessing various fertilisation levels, as it provides an insight into the relationship between grass quality and fertilisation. The palatability of the grass is included through the analysis of the sugar and sodium content.