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Eblex Issue Waterlogging Warning

21 November 2012

UK - Waterlogging could be causing significant damage to grass leading to decreased yields and lower nutrient value for grazing animals, EBLEX has warned.

Following an exceptionally wet summer Eblex have urged livestock farmers need to be geared up to repair pasture that provides grass for grazing and conserved feed to avoid facing increased costs from extra bought-in feed.

EBLEX beef and sheep scientist Dr Liz Genever is urging farmers to act now and undertake a grass MOT to assess damage and help prioritise action.

“There is little we can do when the grass is underwater other than sit and wait for it to recede and keep livestock off it if possible. There is a real animal welfare issue when floods are prevalent, as well as the damage to grassland,” said Dr Genever.

“Farms should have an evacuation plan for animals in areas that are prone to flooding and be extra vigilant on checking for infectious diseases that may be made worse by the water.
“Grass can only survive for a limited amount of time completely submerged and excessive moisture will limit grass growth. It can lead to soil structure problems, for example compaction or poaching, and this is a real threat in the wake of the weather we have experienced for much of this summer and now into autumn.

“Once things do start to dry out, we need to assess the damage and a grass MOT is a good way of approaching this.”

A grass MOT brings together a dozen key factors into a single, visual assessment. Criteria such as compaction, worm numbers, ground cover and weed content are all summarised. A traffic-light grouping helps you assess quickly which factors need to be prioritised for action – the ones with the circles in the red zone.

“We have a grass MOT document to help people through the process and identify any remedial actions that may be needed, like reseeding but the very general message is that we all need to be looking down more,” added Dr Genever.

TheCattleSite News DeskRead more EBLEX News here

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