As a dairy/meat farmer, one of the most profitable jobs is observing your fields. And not with a quad, car or tractor, but walk through it, take the time and really see how the plots are doing. Each plot should be viewed once a week.

The best way to do this is to look at a few plots each day.

A large part of the work of a dairy/meat farmer consists of “reading”, observing and observing what is happening in the fields, with both the plants and the soil.

Some tips for observing your fields:

1. Is there a good plant density or is there a bare soil? Bare soil cannot absorb sunlight and will therefore never yield money. A handful of seed on the bare patch of soil can boost your business's bottom line – every little bit helps!

Therefore always take a small bag of seed with you while observing.

2. If the herd enters a new plot and wants to "scream" out almost immediately, something is wrong. As a 'grass farmer' you should never ignore screaming animals, because that is a sign of dissatisfaction. For example, a power cord may have fallen into the water bowl. If enough water is available, it may be grass that tastes bad due to a disturbed mineral balance.

A deficiency of sodium makes the grass unpalatable. Many New Zealand farmers 'fertilize' their fields with salt to improve the taste. A sign of a sodium deficiency is animals licking soil or kicking each other.

3. A healthy clover density is a sign of good soil health. Clover is therefore a good indicator.

4. Seeing clover growing better in the manure flats compared to an open field can be an indicator of low phosphorus levels. If the grass grows better in a urine spot, that is an indicator of nitrogen deficiency.

Poor growth of clovers in a urine spot may indicate low sulfur or potassium levels.

Think about this:

– Feed your soil first.
– Let your animals do the work, use your energy for thinking.
– When was the last time you observed your plots?

To find out more about how to maintain and increase the yield of your fields, follow the online Grassland Production course.

In the online course Grassland Production the focus is on the basis of nature, how does nature work, how does the natural way of growth work, what influences it.

View the online courses here