Making More from Sheep Australian Wool Innovation Limited Meat & Livestock Australia
MODULE 8: Turn Pasture into Product
Tool 8.6
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A number of paddock aids are available to help assess pasture mass (quantity) ranging from the MLA Pasture Ruler and the PROGRAZE® stick to commercially available pasture meters. They include:

MLA Pasture Ruler MLA Pasture Ruler
  • Cut, dry and weigh pasture from a known area (see PROGRAZE® manual)
  • Pasture rulers or sticks that measure height and equate to pasture mass — calibrated to read green dry matter when 100% green, and capable of conversion to dry matter, using PROGRAZE® information. These aids are simple to use and very cheap. Pasture benchmarks are marked on the ruler to allow a quick assessment of whether prevailing pasture conditions (quality and quantity) are meeting the needs of the livestock (see image at left). These tools are not suitable for annual pastures that are tightly grazed or have variable compositions. Use the Lifetime Wool Feed on Offer pasture photo standards for these pasture types (see signposts in procedure 8.2)
  • Read MLA Tips & Tools Improving pasture use with the MLA Pasture Ruler (see signposts under procedure 8.2)
  • Rising plate meters that measure total dry matter: most sophisticated models will store and average readings over a number of paddocks
  • Electronic probes that measure green dry matter: may collect additional manual input, such as phenology descriptors, store and average readings over a number of paddocks and download direct to office computers
  • Remote sensing (Pastures from Space) of pastures is available in Mediterranean environments but is not yet calibrated for perennial pastures (see signposts in procedure 8.1)
  • For more information on use of pasture meters and measurement of pasture mass see tool 7.6 in Grow More Pasture.
  • The Lifetime Ewe Management course has a photo gallery of different pastures to help estimate pasture mass. A hardcopy booklet is also available. Go to the Tools section on the Lifetime Wool website
    For a copy of the MLA Pasture ruler phone 1800 675 717