A new competition has beenlaunched with a focus on optimal grass nutrition. Grass Prix, from Yara, ismaking its debut in the UK and Ireland this summer having originally been runby Yara in Finland in 2012.
Ten beef and dairy farms fromthe UK and Ireland have signed up to compete for the highest energy yield (MEper ha). The combined highest ME yield across two silage cuts will win.
Getting the most from Grass isa vital part of any livestock enterprise and remains the most dominant andeconomic feed for the dairy, beef and sheep sector either as grazing orconserved forage, explains Ian Matts, Company Agronomist at Yara UK andIreland, It requires careful attention to optimise the output and maximisereturns, too often this is overlooked. Effective nutrition has a vital role ingrowing grass successfully, in both yield and quality.
Yarasregional sales team will be workingclosely with the farms, offering the tools, resources and advice to help theentrants succeed, continues Mr Matts. Theywill be:
noting the seedvariety
providingfree soil and tissue analysis
recording allinputs and application rates and timings
This will allow usto have a full understanding of how all entrants reached their final yield.
Entrants into Yara Grass Prixcompetition for 2014 are: –
Evelyn and Fred Kenwell Dairy farmers from Northern Ireland
Donal Callery – Beef farmer in Republic of Ireland
William and Gareth Corrie Beef farmers in Northern Ireland
Robert Tilly Dairy farmer from the south west England
Tom Brown Dairy farmer Republic of Ireland
Andy Gibbons Dairy farmer in the north west England
Terry Clarke – Dairy farmer from south Wales
Willie Watson Dairy farmer from south west Scotland
Iain Green Beef farmer north east Scotland
Tom Rawson – Dairy farmer from Yorkshire
In 2012, the competition in Finlandhad eight farmers competing during the full growing season, says Mr Matts. Thewinner was a dairy farmer who achieved an energy yield of 148,000MJ/ha overthree cuts. This gave him a staggering 193% yield increase over his normal farmpractice and took his dry matter yield from 4.5t/ha to 13.2t/ha, which led to anincrease in net profit of over 1,000/ha.
Currently grass yields in the UK and ROI deliver6-10t/Ha of dry matter which is, on average, less than half of its biologicalpotential. One of the main reasons for low grass yields is the poor orincorrect use of nitrogen (N) fertilizer, in terms of rate and times ofapplication. Grass really deserves the same level of attention to detail moreusually given to arable crops. Yara is exploring the wider use of our precisetools and apps for grassland and forage crops.
Value to farmers
With UK dairy and beef farm businesseshaving to closely monitor feed prices, being able to produce more grass, moreeconomically, is always a benefit.
Grass, whether grazed or fed as silage isusually the most costeffective source of livestock feed, says Mr Matts andmost farmers are looking at home grown forage as a way to improve profitabilityand reduce their reliance on costly, unpredictable imports. DairyCo figures showed that a 10% increase inyield from forage resulted in an 8p per litre of milk reduction in feed costswhen compared to imported soyabean meal. These are real business benefits forUK farmers that we simply cant afford to ignore.
Results of the Yara UK GrassPrix competition should be available in August following anticipated secondcuts in June and July. A detailed analysis of each farm entry will be reviewedso the winning practise can be clearly understood. Yara UK are the main sponsorof the Grassland & Muck Event at Stoneleigh on the 21st & 22ndMay where we will be discussing the detail behind the different approaches taken by our2014 Grass Prix competition entrants to grow their 1st cut depending on theweather – some 1st cuts will have been taken.
For further information and to learnmore about Yaras latest innovations in grassland management – including theuse of N Sensor on grass – log on to www.yara.co.ukor visit:
The Grassland & Muck Event at Stoneleigh on 21st& 22nd May.
the FTMTA Grass & Muck event in Tipperary on 14thMay
the RNAS GrassTech event in Aberdeenshire on 27th May
the BGS Summer visit inAberdeenshire on 4th 7th July.