Lesson 1. Planning a Grazing System — Appendix E

Clipping Method to Estimate Stand Productivity

1. Clip the forage in 1 square yard of pasture. Clip at the height to which you would like to graze. (This varies with species.)

2. Weigh all of the forage collected. Record the total weight of the sample (for example, 2.07 lbs./sq. yd).

3. Determine the % forage dry matter (DM):

  • Weigh an empty paper plate. Record weight of plate (for example, 1 oz).
  • Take a 1/2 lb (approximately) subsample of the forage. Place it on the plate and weigh it accurately. Record original weight of subsample (for example, 9 oz).
  • Place the plate and forage in a microwave oven with a cup of water and turn the microwave on high for three minutes. Note: It is extremely important to leave water in the microwave throughout the drying process. Water reduces the chance of ruining the microwave or possibly starting a fire.
  • Weigh.
  • Place back in microwave for 1 minute.
  • Repeat steps 3d and 3e until no additional weight loss occurs.  Record final weight of subsample (for example, 3 oz).
  • Calculate % forage DM as:
(final weight of subsample)-(weight of plate)
Forage DM = ———————————————————————- x 100
(initial weight of subsample)-(weight of plate)

For example,

(3 oz)-(l oz)
25% Forage DM = ——————————
(9 oz)-(l oz)

Note: Be sure to account for weight of plate before and after drying.

4. Determine pasture yield (lb/acre) as:

(total sample wt) x (% forage DM) x (43,560 sq. ft/acre)
Pasture yield = ———————————————————————-
(9 sq. ft/sq. yd)

For example,

(2.07 lbs./sq. yd) x (.25) x (43,560 sq. ft/acre)
2,505 lbs./acre = ———————————————————————-
(9 sq. ft/sq. yd)

Appendix F: Planning Fencing Systems for Intensive Grazing Management, L. W. Turner, et. Al. University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension, Lexington, KY ID-74, 1997

Appendix G: Guide to Pasture Condition Scoring, Grazing Lands Technology Institute, Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture, May 2001.