Measuring pasture yields to achieve management goals on farms, or in regions, distant from research stations requires techniques both practical and sensitive to localised factors such as soil type, pasture species, and adapted management technology. In addition, such techniques must be compatible with any quantitative comparisons which need to be made between the farm and the distant research station. Pasture dry matter (DM) yield on a paddock scale is measured by a 2-stage process of yield estimation, and calibration to DM. Using data collected in Northland, this paper shows how the methods of DM yield assessment vary according to the end-use. For example, a cursory eye estimate without calibration is suitable for assessing DM for wintering livestock at high grazing pressure, while, for farm cover assessment, detailed yield estimation allied with detailed quadrat cutting could be necessary. The index of total DM used on research stations can be provided on farms by cutting techniques which measure only to a trimmed level and do not include the stubble component to ground level. The stubble component can be an extract value provided by an expert skilled in comparing different pastures.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 48, , 187-190, 1988
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