Sward Stick

FREE Sward Stick Can Help Farmers Gauge When To Graze Grass

Sward Stick

To help farmers gauge when to graze their grass, Barenbrug UK has developed a brand new sward stick that is available completely free of charge. The stick, which is printed with the optimum heights for grass for both cattle and sheep, is designed to make it easier for farmers to decide when to turn livestock out, and when to adjust grazing pressure.


Knowing when to graze grass and for how long requires careful judgement and getting it right can be a delicate balance:

  • Grazing grass too early – before a second new tiller leaf appears – can damage grass persistency and put future growth in peril
  • Grazing for too long, to a low residual, where there is too little grass left, can put a pasture back into the lag phase – where regrowth is slow due to the plant’s sole reliance on its carbohydrate reserves
  • Not grazing a field enough can also prove problematic: if a field is left too long, grass will enter the ceiling phase of growth; at this stage, tillers continue to produce new leaves, however, there is no further increase in net pasture mass due to the dying off of older leaves.


There are several ways to measure grass but a sward stick is the simplest way to get started. Featuring a 15 cm rule, Barenbrug’s sward stick has three columns that give farmers color coordinated zones for grass measurement - depending on the time of year:

  • Spring (March to April)
  • Late spring and summer (May to August)
  • And autumn (September to November).


James Ingles, Head of Agriculture at Barenbrug UK, said: “We’ve created sward sticks in the past and they’ve proved really popular so we’re expecting these ones to go quickly. You can request a sward stick via our website or pick one up at the events we’ll be attending this summer including ScotSheep on May 30, 2018, at Kings Arms Farm, Ballantrae. If you’ve not used a sward stick before, our team will be happy to show you how. It’s a really simple, effective tool that every livestock farmer should have at their disposal.”


Barenbrug recommends that farmers use its sward sticks on a weekly basis - building up a log of grass growing information. Farmers should walk each relevant field, once a week, to monitor sward height. Following a similar route each time, they should take 30 to 40 leaf-top readings per field - before calculating an average and recording it in a notebook. This information can then be used to aid decision-making and for longer-term seasonal and year-on-year assessments and adjustments.




Sward Stick

Order your FREE Sward Stick here.

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