Beef and sheep farmers are being sought to take part in a UK-wide project to help farmers improve their grassland management.
Up to 25 farms are needed to kick-start the GrassCheckGB project, which aims to improve grassland productivity and pasture utilisation on beef and sheep units through a new grassland performance monitoring network.
Grass growth and quality of pasture will be monitored as part of the project, and predictions for future growth will be reported on a weekly basis.
The project is run by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) levy bodies with the Centre of Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL), and researchers at the Agri-Food Biosciences Institute and Rothamsted Research.
It is part-funded from the £2 million fund of AHDB red meat levies, which have been ring-fenced for collaborative projects with HCC and QMS.
The funding is designed to be an interim arrangement while a long-term solution is sought on the issue of levies being collected at the point of slaughter in England for animals born and reared in Scotland and Wales.
The QMS knowledge transfer specialist Heather McCalman said: “This is a great opportunity for farmers to get involved in a new GB-wide initiative which could make a real difference to managing grass supply to meet livestock demand in the future,”
Participating farmers will be required to measure grass each week throughout the grazing season.
Regular grass samples will be taken for quality analysis.
Each pilot farm will receive an electronic plate meter and software.
They will also get an automatic weather station to record key data such as temperature, rainfall and sunshine hours.
Application forms and information packs can be downloaded by going to www. ciellivestock.co.uk and CIEL can be contacted on 01904 567716.