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Topics : Pastures : Determining Pasture Yield

Determining Pasture Yield

Additional pasture information via the Forage Information System (FIS)

Assessing pasture dry matter (DM) yield is important for feed budgeting and to evaluate management decisions. Knowing yield has many applications, for instance: to evaluate different pasture mixtures, stocking rates, estimation of forage inventory, fertilizer needs, fertilization cost-benefit, and to calculate net return on investment. In contrast to cash crops, yield is rarely evaluated in pastures. First of all, it is more difficult to measure yield on pastures because the forage is not gathered. Secondly, it is time consuming and thirdly, the potential of the pasture sometimes is neglected.

Consequently, a method is needed to estimate how much forage is in a pasture without collecting all the forage. Many different methods have been developed to accomplish yield determination. The methods can be divided into two categories: direct and indirect methods. Direct methods actually collect a sample of the pasture and then estimate yield. Indirect methods rely on one or more plant characteristics to provide yield estimation.



How pasture yield is determined



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