Sward Sticks Make Everyone a Pasture Assessor
Hastings farm consultant, John Cannon, has been in the business for 15 years and works with more than 30 farmers a month, many with very large farms. He said Sward Sticks were particularly helpful for standardising pasture assessments between consultant and farmer.
He also said the Sward Stick was essential for anyone learning to do eye assessments or starting to use a farm management software system.
“There might be some differing opinions about pasture cover based on your eye assessments – the Sward Stick standardises them so there is no guess work. You simply chuck it in the front of your bike and take it with you around the farm. It’s simple to use, accurate, doesn’t require a lot of training and it helps you become a capable pasture assessor in a very short period of time. Best of all – it’s free.”
Hildreth Romneys’ farm manager, Mark Thomas, is one of John’s clients and has used a Sward Stick for more than 10 years.
Hildreth Romneys is a 600 hectare farm with 120 paddocks and more than 6000 animals ranging from mixed aged ewes to trading cattle. Mark appraises pasture growth daily throughout the year, and once a month he uses a Sward Stick to check his appraisals are accurate before entering his pasture cover data into FARMAX.
“One day six of us were discussing the farm’s pasture cover, each estimating how much we thought it had. There was 800 to 900 kilos difference between some of the estimates. To get an accurate reading we used the Sward Stick. It was really interesting to see how far out some of the estimates were, and that’s why the Sward Stick is invaluable.”
FARMAX general manager, Gavin McEwen, using a Sward Stick.