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20. Precision Pasture Management

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Use data to make the most efficient use of your farm’s
pasture resources. Take precision agriculture inside the perimeter fence. Christine O’Reilly, OMAFRA

Published in: Food
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20. Precision Pasture Management

  1. 1. Precision Pasture Management Christine O’Reilly Forage and Grazing Specialist, OMAFRA Eastern Ontario Crops Conference Kemptville, ON February 12, 2019
  2. 2. Precision Agriculture Use of data to inform management decisions in farm businesses • High-tech or low-tech • Goal: increase profitability
  3. 3. Number Crunching Based on OMAFRA Pub 60 Field Crop Budgets Assumptions: Forage valued at $200/ac, average insurance premium rate across all options applied; 80 acre pasture, 50 cow-calf pairs, 1.5 acres/pair, enclosed with 2 strand high-tensile electric, 1 500m water pipes, 100 gal stock tank, amortized over 5 years, cost of amortization doubled as maintenance factor
  4. 4. Number Crunching Based on OMAFRA Pub 60 Field Crop Budgets Assumptions: Forage valued at $200/ac, average insurance premium rate across all options applied; 80 acre pasture, 50 cow-calf pairs, 1.5 acres/pair, enclosed with 2 strand high-tensile electric, 1 500m water pipes, 100 gal stock tank, amortized over 5 years, cost of amortization doubled as maintenance factor
  5. 5. Number Crunching Based on OMAFRA Pub 60 Field Crop Budgets Assumptions: Forage valued at $200/ac, average insurance premium rate across all options applied; 80 acre pasture, 50 cow-calf pairs, 1.5 acres/pair, enclosed with 2 strand high-tensile electric, 1 500m water pipes, 100 gal stock tank, amortized over 5 years, cost of amortization doubled as maintenance factor
  6. 6. Number Crunching Based on OMAFRA Pub 60 Field Crop Budgets Assumptions: Forage valued at $200/ac, average insurance premium rate across all options applied; 80 acre pasture, 50 cow-calf pairs, 1.5 acres/pair, enclosed with 2 strand high-tensile electric, 1 500m water pipes, 100 gal stock tank, amortized over 5 years, cost of amortization doubled as maintenance factor
  7. 7. Number Crunching Based on OMAFRA Pub 60 Field Crop Budgets Assumptions: Forage valued at $200/ac, average insurance premium rate across all options applied; 80 acre pasture, 50 cow-calf pairs, 1.5 acres/pair, enclosed with 2 strand high-tensile electric, 1 500m water pipes, 100 gal stock tank, amortized over 5 years, cost of amortization doubled as maintenance factor
  8. 8. Number Crunching Based on OMAFRA Pub 60 Field Crop Budgets Assumptions: Forage valued at $200/ac, average insurance premium rate across all options applied; 80 acre pasture, 50 cow-calf pairs, 1.5 acres/pair, enclosed with 2 strand high-tensile electric, 1 500m water pipes, 100 gal stock tank, amortized over 5 years, cost of amortization doubled as maintenance factor
  9. 9. Number Crunching Beef Cow Dry Ewe Body weight 590 kg (1300 lbs) 100 kg (220 lbs) Daily DMI @ 2.6% 15.34 kg (33.8 lbs) 2.6 kg (5.72 lbs) Hay Pasture Hay Pasture COP/acre $318.50 $175.96 $318.50 $175.96 Cost/head/day $1.55 $0.86 $0.26 $0.15
  10. 10. Number Crunching Beef Cow Dry Ewe Body weight 590 kg (1300 lbs) 100 kg (220 lbs) Daily DMI @ 2.6% 15.34 kg (33.8 lbs) 2.6 kg (5.72 lbs) Hay Pasture Hay Pasture COP/acre $318.50 $175.96 $318.50 $175.96 Cost/head/day $1.55 $0.86 $0.26 $0.15
  11. 11. Goal: Increase Profitability • Extend the grazing season • Reduce number of days on stored feed during “summer slump” • Efficiently use on-farm forage • Target improvements before declines impact margins What data do we need to do this?
  12. 12. Goal: Increase Profitability • # of grazing days • # of days feeding supplemental forage • % grass utilization, stage of maturity, rate of growth • yield
  13. 13. Precision Pasture Management • Grazing wedge • Grazing chart • Grazing wheel These only work with rotational grazing systems Photo: Jillian Craig
  14. 14. Grazing Wedge https://www.dairynz.co.nz/feed/pasture-management/feed-wedges-and-rotation-planners/feed-wedges/
  15. 15. Surplus grass https://www.teagasc.ie/media/website/crops/grassland/Grazing-Guide-Book-2011_27-48.pdf Grazing Wedge
  16. 16. Grass deficits https://www.teagasc.ie/media/website/crops/grassland/Grazing-Guide-Book-2011_27-48.pdf Grazing Wedge
  17. 17. Grazing Wedge Advantages • Easy to track: – Target grass yields – Rate of grass growth • Enables prediction of surpluses and deficits • Paper or mobile app Disadvantages • Requires regular yield measurements
  18. 18. Measuring Tools https://am.gallagher.com/media/1 0588/gna_ip_pasturestick1.jpg?anc hor=center&mode=crop&width=39 1&height=292&bgcolor=fff&rnd=13 1762127810000000 http://rainalgoma.ca/wp- content/uploads/2016/10/Falli ngPlateMeter-1.jpg http://jenquip.co.nz/products/f ilips-manual-folding-plate- meter
  19. 19. Measuring Tools C-Dax Pasture Meter + • Laser measuring • GPS mapping • Max speed 20km/h • NZ $6990.00
  20. 20. Grazing Wedge – Apps for That • University of Missouri Extension Grazing Wedge https://grazingwedge.missouri.edu/
  21. 21. Grazing Wedge – Apps for That • farmGRAZE (free version, full version $9.48) www.mobilefarmapps.com/ apps.html
  22. 22. Grazing Chart http://blog.uvm.edu/cvcrops/grazing-charts-an-adaptable-recordkeeping-tool/
  23. 23. Grazing Chart Advantages • Easy to track: – Days grazing – Days rest – Number of rotations – Relevant weather data • Enables calculation of: – Yield – Carrying capacity • Paper or digital Disadvantages • Limited predictive ability
  24. 24. Grazing Chart – Apps for That • Pasture Map – Ranch Management (free 14 day trial, starts at US $42/month) https://pasturemap.com/
  25. 25. Grazing Chart – Apps for That • Pasture Map – Ranch Management (free 14 day trial, starts at US $42/month) https://pasturemap.com/
  26. 26. Grazing Chart – Apps for That • MaiaGrazing (free version, full version starts AUS $60/month) https://maiatechnology.com.au/
  27. 27. Grazing Chart – Apps for That • MaiaGrazing (free version, full version starts AUS $60/month) https://maiatechnology.com.au/
  28. 28. Grazing Wheel Julian dates make the math easier
  29. 29. Grazing Wheel Advantages • Easy to track: – Days grazing – Days rest – Number of rotations • Enables calculation of: – Yield – Carrying capacity Disadvantages • No predictive ability • Entering other data can make the wheel illegible
  30. 30. Take Home • Precision ag = using data to inform decisions • Lower COP = wider margins • FIRST understand what data you need • Grazing wedges, charts, and wheels serve different purposes, use different data • Precision ag can be high-tech or low-tech
  31. 31. Thank You Christine O’Reilly Forage and Grazing Specialist christine.oreilly@ontario.ca 705-324-5855 Twitter: @OReilly_Ag www.fieldcropnews.com

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