A farmer from Hayle couldn’t believe his luck when he won the latest plate meter to help him measure grass growth on his Cornish dairy farm.

Paul Richards entered a competition that was part of New Zealand’s campaign to promote their Farm Smarter Work Harder campaign but he never expected to win.

Paul said: “I have 330 dairy cows, all autumn calving, and grass is our most important asset. Keeping our grazing platform it tip top condition is key, so measuring our grass growth weekly is a vital aspect of our management.

“I didn’t think for a second I’d win a prize. But I’m delighted I did as plate meters are vital here. The cows are still out during the day, although they come in at night over the winter, and we aim to close up our pasture when the residuals are 1500 kgs DM/ha.

“We walk all the grazing platform once a week and find measurement essential to plan our route around the farm, and to make sure we manage the grass in the best possible way. By turnout in late January, we’d aim to have 2700 to 2800 kgs/DM/ha. We’re at about 2500 kgs/DM/ha at the moment, and really want to get down a bit – if we don’t, the salt wind will burn it off and we’ll lose the grass anyway.”

Paul farms around 1000 acres at Splattenridden Farm in Hayle, Cornwall and his farm is the one featured on the AHDB grass growth chart representing Cornwall.

The prize was kindly donated by LIC (Livestock Improvement Corporation).