See options for measuring forage productivity to gauge the effects of management practices and document a return on your investment.

Measuring forage productivity is an important tool in managing your pasture’s health and boosting herd production and your operation’s bottom line. According to a South Florida Beef-Forage Program article, a quantitative form of measurement is needed to track changes and ensure that your forage management efforts are having a real and tangible impact. The article shared options for measuring the productivity of your forage management efforts. See them below.

Options for Measuring Forage Productivity

The article was written by UF/IFAS Extension agent for Sarasota County, Rod Greder. To illustrate his point of the importance of measuring forage productivity, he shared that a “Ten percent improvement on a 3 Ton per acre yield is 600 lbs per acre per year. For a lactating 1200 lb cow that consumes 3% of her BW/daily that is an additional 15 days of grazing per acre. Ten percent matters.”

Greder’s options for measuring the productivity of your forage management efforts include:

“Use body condition scores during the season or wait till season’s end to get weaning weights and then think back about forage conditions and the season.” However, Greder points out that these are lagging indicators rather than leading indicators. Lagging indicators do not allow you to make changes in-season.

“Stake out a defined area and clip and dry the forage before and after management changes to get an accurate measurement but that takes time.”

Use automated tools like the rising plate meter or grass master to automate measurement but cost and complexity like the need to calibrate the tool to your grass species and the pasture condition outweigh the benefits for most producers.”

Use Grazing sticks. Greder shared that there will be a focus in the near future concerning the availability of new sticks for Florida ranchers.

Use a Pasture Condition Score Sheet. “It can be used to track the changes from altered management practices you make to determine their impact and document a return on your investment. It also is a great tool to use to train your eye to look for the different factors that affect pasture productivity.” Greder shared that there will also be workshops coming up on using a pasture condition scoresheet as a tool for pasture improvement.

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.