The first cut of 2017 looks good for forage

Everyone looks forward to the first grass cut of the year. It gives you a hint of what's to come from the rest of the season. And this year it's looking good. We've analysed the spring forage cut from across a range of farmers, and digestibility was excellent.

Above average yields and better digestibility – 2017 could be a good year for forage

When you're constantly working to breed better-performing forage grasses, you have to keep track of progress on existing varieties. Feedback is vital. The more we know about the varieties we have developed, the easier it is to predict the performance of future varieties and advise growers on how to get the best out of current ones. Data on existing varieties also give us a benchmark against which to compare the performance of newer varieties.

The spring cut 2017: a good yield and good digestibility

To gather the data we need, we spend a lot of time talking to forage growers and analysing the performance of grasses grown on working farms. A big annual test is the first spring cut. A good or bad forage cut in spring is no guarantee of what's to come, but it does give a few hints. And this year's spring cut was excellent on two counts.

The yield was above average, and subsequent analysis shows that digestibility is also far better than it was in the previous year. Put those two factors together and 2017 promises to be a good year for forage supply.

For better forage, speak to DLF

If your spring cut wasn't as good as you expected, it's worth bearing in mind that yields vary from farm to farm depending on the soil, the climate, and the age of the sward. You might not be able to change your soil or your climate, but you can definitely improve your grass. If yours is old and patchy, now may be the time to reseed or overseed with a better-performing variety.

To find out which varieties would be good for your farm, talk to your local DLF supplier or visit for more information on how to improve your grass and forage quality.