Caution - The RPM is a farm management tool that approximates pasture mass. It should not be used as the only method to allocate pasture to stock. Allocation of pasture should be made with the following considerations:
- Observation of stock that they are grazing for sufficient time
- That post grazing residuals are hitting the desired targets
The benefits of the RPM are:
- Able to quantify pasture on farm (Average Pasture Cover)
- Correctly and consistently target a consistent pasture height
- A tool that almost anybody can use
- When used in conjunction with regular farm walks the RPM can be a vital cog in pasture management decisions. The data collected can also generate valuable information for future farm management decisions. The data collated can provide:
- Annual farm growth rates
- Individual paddock growth rates
- Seasonal average pasture targets
- More accurate information for feed budgets
- Information to build a feed wedge.
Key points when using the RPM
- The RPM measures height not kilograms of dry matter (kg DM)
- The equation that converts height to kg DM should be seen as a guide
- Maintenance is critical to ensure accuracy and reliability of reading
- Operators technique needs to be consistent
- Adverse environmental conditions will impact on accuracy.
Making the most of your RPM
Refer to DairyNZ FarmFact 1-15 Using the Rising Plate Meter (RPM) for more information.