Automating Measurement of Forage Mass in Pasture
Moyer, J.L. | Schrock, M.D.
Measuring forage mass (FM) is crucial in grazed pastures, but the process is labor intensive. Several indirect methods of estimating standing FM are used, but all require a large number of observations for an adequate sample. One popular technique relates FM to height of a disk or plate compressing the forage beneath. This report describes and evaluates a forage estimator "sled" that continuously records the height of a pivoting plate and the corresponding global positioning system (GPS) readings as it is pulled over forage. Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) pasture FM was correlated with plate height (r=0.85, P<0.01). Calibrations relating disk meter and plate height data from tall fescue and smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis L.) pastures were developed. Tall fescue varietal differences in FM of pastures were similarly detected by disk meter and the forage estimator sled.Show more [+] Less [-]