HOW TO SCORE
Walk the field and assess grass content.
An Index 5 field will have at least 80% sown, productive species (with clover making up 30-40% of the plant population)
There will be minimal weed content or gaps.
WHAT THIS MEANS
The key here is to maintain the field at this level and use it as an example to get as many fields up to this level as possible.
WHAT TO DO
In order to maintain a sward like this it is important to have good fertility.
Regular soil sampling, every three to five years, will ensure you monitor where you are and what what you need to focus on.
50% of UK grassland soils tested have a pH of between 5 and 6. A pH of 5 means the grassland has a maximum yield potential of around 88%.
When planning a liming policy it is important to aim for maintaining pHs of 6 or above.
Regular soil sampling will also give you Phosphate and Potash indices.
The use of Nutrient Management Guide (RB 209) gives recommendations for all cutting and grazing regimes for Phosphate and Potash, Nitrogen and Sulphur fertilisers as well as values for slurry and farmyard manure. All of these need to be taken into account when planning a fertiliser regime.