November 2018
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Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

Forage for Knowledge

The latest from AHDB on grass and forage management

November 2018

Welcome to November's Forage for Knowledge, AHDB’s bi-monthly newsletter bringing you the latest research and advice on grass, forage and soil management.

This edition takes a look back at the difficult year many have faced and looks ahead to spring 2019 and how you can prepare to make sure next year's grazing season gets off to the best start.

This is the last edition of Forage for Knowledge this year. Grass growth monitoring will be starting again in February 2019. If you are interested in joining the Forage for Knowledge farmers, please don't hesitate to get in touch by emailing

Expert view - grazing strategies

This year’s freak weather has emphasised the importance of having a Plan B for your farm to deal with extreme conditions.

Livestock Improvement (LIC) grazing consultant Sean Chubb explains more.


Do It Now - Review grass figures

Now is the time to sit down and review the figures you have collected over the last grazing season. There can be a large variation in the performance of paddocks across the farm and the best way to identify which ones are holding back the average production is to analyse all the data collected over the season. 

Find out more here.


How to - Plan for next spring

Planning for 2019 grazing season has been the focus on farms during autumn management to ensure grazing is set-up for a successful start. 

Take a look at what you should be considering to make sure you are well prepared for spring 2019.

Dairy case study - Blandys Farm

Survivability with low cost of production is a key business aim for Blandys Farm, where maximising yield from home-grown forage is key to profitability. Andrew Allan manages the 365 ha joint arable and dairy enterprise in Berkshire for E&DG Stevens. 

Read about how they use self-feed clamps to reduce demand on labour.


Making better conserved forage - Nutrient planning

2018 was a challenging year but as winter approaches, James Holmes, AHDB’s Senior Scientist, believes now is a good time to take stock and start planning nutrient management for spring 2019. 

Read James’ tips on planning nutrients for next season.

Year in review

Following a strong grass-growing season in 2017, 2018 brought extremely challenging conditions for the majority of farms across Great Britain. AHDB Dairy’s Siwan Howatson looks back at how growth and quality have performed across the 37 Forage for Knowledge farms in 2018 and the impact the extreme weather conditions have had on grass productivity.

Beef & Lamb case study - The Rutherfords

Graham and Michael Rutherford farm 1,900 ewes at View Law and Blackpool Farm in Northumberland. The majority are Lleyn, with an increasing number of Easycare ewes, and they lamb outdoors in late April.

Read about how they have been getting ready for winter.

Boost forage knowledge

With the feeding season for fodder beet upon us, Dr Jim Gibbs, a fodder beet grazing expert from Lincoln University in New Zealand (NZ), held a meeting for AHDB focusing on making the most of fodder beet in beef, sheep and dairy outwintering systems, by sharing expertise and experience from NZ. 

Read all about it here.

Event report - planning winter feed

AHDB Beef & Lamb ran a series of technical workshops hosted by Phil Creighton from Teagasc that aimed to ensure this year did not have wider impacts on next year’s season.

Read about planning winter feed options and setting up grazing rotations for the spring here.
Thanks to all our contributor farms for sending in your data throughout the year and helping paint the picture of grass growth in Great Britain. We hope that your work encourages others to see the benefits of measuring and managing grass growth on their farms.