You are here: News > Insights

You are viewing 1 of your 2 free articles

You’ll need to join us by becoming a member to gain more access.
Already a Member?

Login Join us now

Platemeter helps to fine tune performance


Welsh dairy farmer Bryn Evans anticipates taking a more technical approach to grazing after getting his first platemeter. 


Twitter Facebook

Situated near Llangedwyn, north Powys, the 223-hectare (550-acre) upland farm supports a herd of 200 Montbeliarde dairy cows. The system is primarily forage- and grazing-based, so regular use of the platemeter to manage pasture offers the chance to boost performance.


Bryn Evans sees the platemeter as an important tool to keep up with developments across the industry. He says: “Nowadays, all the literature and technical information talks about kilograms of dry matter per hectare [kg DM/ha], so the platemeter will improve our understanding and application of advice.”


“My son Sion is also about to start college, so I think it will help him when he is learning about grazing and feeding cows, and then hopefully he can bring what he has learnt back onto the farm.”


The farm has a 7,000-litre production target which it tries to hit mainly through home-grown grass. Each summer, there are three or four cuts of silage which aim for quality over quantity to enhance animal performance. To meet these targets, the farm has recently undertaken a significant reseeding programme.


Mr Evans says: “The difference between the old and new pasture is clear to see, the reseeds recover much faster – the platemeter will help us when we choose where to reseed better and compare how much more it produces.”


Wholecrop spring barley or swedes are used as the entry for any reseeds and make a useful contribution to forage production.


Mr Evans won the platemeter in a competition organised by Wynnstay Farmers and supported by GrowHow and he was given an introduction on how to use the new piece of kit from GrowHow’s Hefin Llwyd.


Top tips on how to use a plate meter from GrowHow




Mr Llwyd says: “A platemeter tells

you the amount of grass available in a field – it works it out in kg DM/ha, but you can use it to measure large or small areas.

“It is a very useful tool because you know how much grass you have and you can work out how quickly it is growing so it doesn’t only help you plan grazing but things like fertiliser and reseeding as well.”


“The basic rule is you want to start grazing at about 2,800–3,000kg DM/ha and bring animals out at about 1,500. If you go much below 1,500 then you will end up with much slower regrowth as the grass is recovering using roots rather than photosynthesis.”


According to Mr Llwyd, when using the platemeter there are a few basic rules you need to follow to get a representative sample. He says: “Walk the field in a W pattern and make sure you to take a mixture of longer and shorter patches of grass which reflect the picture across the field.”


Twitter Facebook
Rating (0 vote/s)
Post a Comment
To see comments and join in the conversation please log in.

More Insights

Dairy Farmer magazine's July 2017 digital edition

Don’t miss this month’s new look Dairy Farmer. Take a look at the digital edition today.

Profit from grass: Pressure eases as most areas are on target

After several weeks of steady grass growth and with second cut silage complete, easing pressure on both set-stocked and cell grazed areas is high on the agenda for Andrew Jones Launceston, Cornwall.

Chicory and plantain fight the drought

Plantain and chicory are often overlooked as forages for dairy and sheep. But their potential in boosting performance can have a significant impact on a unit’s bottom-line profitability. Farmers Guardian reports.

Cheese helps strengthen family farm

Sustainability is the key to the Groat family’s Devernick Dairy business near Aberdeen. Angela Calvert reports.

Scottish native breeds at heart of Balmoral estate

Teams of both Highland cattle and Highland ponies will be heading to Ingliston from The Queen’s Balmoral Estate. Angela Calvert finds out more.
FG Insight and FGInsight.com are trademarks of Briefing Media Ltd.
Farmers Guardian and FarmersGuardian.com are trademarks of Farmers Guardian Ltd, a subsidiary of Briefing Media Ltd.
All material published on FGInsight.com and FarmersGuardian.com is copyrighted © 2016 by Briefing Media Limited. All rights reserved.
RSS news feeds