Grass10 2017-2020 Report Published
A report on the first phase of the Grass10 programme was published today, Tuesday 19 January 2021. The Grass10 programme commenced in 2017 with the aim of encouraging and supporting farmers to increase grass utilisation to 10 tonnes of dry matter per hectare per annum, and to achieve 10 grazings per paddock each year.
The lower cost of grazed grass compared to other animal feed sources, gives Irish farmers a comparative advantage in milk and meat production. Grass utilisation is optimised when soil fertility is optimum, where the farm has excellent grazing infrastructure, the grassland pastures are predominately perennial ryegrass/white clover and best grazing management practices are applied using weekly monitoring grass supply.
The grass10 programme has prioritised farm practice changes:
- Grazing infrastructure; improve paddock layout, water system and farm roadways.
- Soil fertility; increase soil pH, P and K
- Reseeding; reseed poor performing paddocks
- PastureBase Ireland; increases both the number of farms and number of measurements per farm per year on PastureBase Ireland
- Grassland management skills; improve the grassland skills of farmers using Grass10 courses.
Outlining the details of the Grass10 report, Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle said that the number of grassland farmers using PastureBase Ireland (PBI) has increased from 2,393 in 2017, completing on average 14 grass cover measurements per farm, to 3,664 grassland farmers in 2020, completing on average 19 grass cover measurements per farm.
Professor Boyle pointed out that over 700 grassland farmers participated in 42 Grass10 courses run in 2019/20 and grass production on those farms subsequently increased by 1.8 tonnes DM/ha per annum. Their level of participation in grass measurement also increased from 20% to 55%.
The Grass10 programme is supported by Teagasc, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, AIB, FBD, Grassland Agro, and the Farmers Journal. Professor Boyle said: “I would like to thank and acknowledge the commitment and support from our partner organisations in the Grass10 programme. I look forward to continuing the excellent working relationship with our partners as we enter phase 2 of the Grass10 programme.”
Padraig Walsh, chair of the Teagasc Grass10 stakeholder committee said: “grass production on dairy and drystock farms is higher where more than 20 grass cover measurements are completed per year. Data from PastureBase Ireland shows they are producing 2.9 and 2.3 tonnes of DM/ha greater than the national average dairy and drystock farmer, respectively. “
He said: “The continued adoption of best grazing management practices at farm level will be critical in increasing the future sustainability of grassland farming in confronting future challenges with regards to climate change, ammonia emissions and water quality. Increasing nitrogen use efficiency on grassland farms will be a major objective.”
The full Grass10 Report 2017 – 2020 can be viewed at https://www.teagasc.ie/publications/2021/grass10-report-2017---2020.php