A lot has been happening in the Accelerating Change project and the broader industry over the last month. The hot dry start to spring meant irrigation was well under way when the Stewart Performance Innovation Team (PIT) met on 17 September. With the upturn in water prices, many farmers involved with Accelerating Change are reviewing their summer feeding strategies. Initial data collection will help assist with the calculations to weigh up whether certain pastures will be watered through or dried off. The Stewart PIT met in September to review farm performance, receive a technical presentation on moisture probes from Dale Boyd of DEDJTR and discuss and the monitoring and measurement strategy and pasture reading technology on the Stewart’s farm.
Accelerating Change is using the Automated Pasture Reader (APR) to collect data about the average pasture height, uniformity and estimated mass (kgDM/ha) across selected paddocks. In a number of these paddocks on both farms, we have taken sample cuttings on both the Stewart and Humphris Partner Farms to compare to the figures presented by the APR, which enables us to evaluate the accuracy of the device and better calibrate the input figures for the equation it uses to calculate mass. This will enable us to monitor growth rates and grazing consumption figures.
We have also made some visual assessments of the different paddocks and fodder types, and have taken fresh samples for nutritive analysis. With this information we will get a better idea ofoptimal grazing times and the best management strategies for different pasture types.