Easy Ways to Figure Out Your Pasture’s Forage Quality

Last week we told you why we don't use Brix to measure the value of forage in pasture. Our primary reason is that it's not a very reliable tool for looking at the nutritional value of a specific plant. Another reason is that so many people have measured forage value for so long, that you can get a pretty good idea of what's going on in your pasture without taking any measurements at all. What We Already Know About Forage Quality One tool that we've all used to get a measure of forage quality is manure. What's coming out is a good indication of what went in, as scientists have discovered from actually studying manure. Thanks to near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) they were able to correlate forage quality with typical manure pats. So now, we can use these pictures of cow manure to get an idea of how good our forage is. You can see pictures of poop and their associated forage values here, and even download an app for your smart phone that will help you judge your pasture forage. With enough experience and science behind you, you can even use manure to estimate how much your cattle are gaining per day. Jim Gerrish's article, The Proof is in the Poop Pudding, shows you what he's found manure looks like when an animal is gaining two pounds per day and compares it to what manure looks like that's producing a pound and a half a day. Of

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