How to Measure Forage Diversity & Growth

In the Herbal Leys for Dairy field lab, sponsored by BBSRC, we are looking at how to manage the grazing intensity of the leys in order to achieve long-term species diversity. We're also trying to find out a bit about what seed mixes work well across the farms, forage nutritional quality and do some general learning from each other on how best to manage herbal leys on farm. In order to identify the impact of grazing intensity, the group will have to do some species composition recording, species ID and also take samples of forage to either send to the lab or do on-farm dry matter assessments.

In order to assist the farmers in taking the assessments and samples, Anna Thompson from University of Reading (the researcher on the trial) has helped put together two short films. The first film goes through how to do the species composition and species identification assessment from a randomly thrown quadrat. It then covers cutting and storing the forage sample and finishes with how to assess the dry matter of the forage by drying it in a microwave. 


The second film briefly covers how to carry out raw height sward assessments using a plate meter.

Apologies for the sound at some points, it was a very windy day! 

Find out more about the Herbal Leys for Dairy field lab  >



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