Pasturebase Ireland (PBI) has added new functionalities to the PBI Grass app.
The new facilities include the nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) calculator and a new farm mapping tool.
PastureBase Ireland is the national grassland database and provides daily updates on grass growth across the country for all farmers.
The NUE calculator measures how efficiently nitrogen in slurry, feed and fertiliser converts to milk and meat. The calculator will also determine the farmgate nitrogen surplus on the farm.
The new farm mapping tool was added in July, which allows farmers to map their farms to allow an easy way to profile grass supply, soil fertility and nitrogen applications.
Farmers can also now add the closest weather station to their farm and receive up-to-date weather data to their PBI accounts.
A nitrogen planner, which gives farmers monthly nitrogen recommendations, has already been available since April 2021 and is very well received by the farmers using the system.
Free to download
The app is free to download and can be used even if mobile connectivity is poor or not available.
Teagasc now issues precision nitrogen management advice weekly through the PBI app, which is based on predicted weekly grass growth information, using Met Éireann meteorological data, which in turn will increase nitrogen use efficiency on grassland farms throughout Ireland.
The use of PBI has increased substantially in recent years, with more than 2,500 grass covers completed weekly at peak in the system.
Improving NUE and reducing nitrogen surplus will have large environmental benefits. Farmers will be able to benchmark their NUE and farmgate nitrogen surplus values with top-performing farms as well as their peer farmers.
These tools will benefit all grassland farms, with a major focus on improving the nitrogen use, farm management and to assist farmers to better match nitrogen supply with grass demand.
It will enable better focused decisions around the timing of nitrogen throughout the season.
Speaking about the new farm scale calculator, director of research in Teagasc Professor Frank O’Mara said: “All of the ruminant enterprises need to improve how and when they use nitrogen.
Knowledge of both parameters will set a benchmark for farmers to improve from
“The development of the NUE calculator will allow farmers [to] calculate both their nitrogen surplus and farm efficiency. Knowledge of both parameters will set a benchmark for farmers to improve from,” he said.
Head of grassland science in Teagasc Dr Michael O’Donovan emphasised: “The use of precision nitrogen application strategies, taking cognisance of meteorological conditions, will improve nitrogen use efficiency substantially and reduce losses to the environment.
“This can only be done with live, up-to-date knowledge of what’s happening on farms. PBI is now allowing farmers to use this technology,” he added.
For more information on the PBI app click here .
Farmers attending the Teagasc Moorepark 21 dairy open day on 14, 15 and 16 September will hear about the increased functionality in the PBI system.
If you wish to attend the open day, pre-registration is required. Click here for details.