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Assessing the amount of grass used on the pasture
Solution name: HerbValo

Aim: to manage the grassland’s production and use during the season or a certain period.


    • HerbValo is a tool that estimates the quantity of valorised grass on the pasture. Herbvalo enables the user to determine which practices impact positively or negatively the use of grass (early grazing, etc.) This tool combines plot mapping with a detailed grazing plan (differences between age groups are considered, including the suckling lambs), and considers feeding practices and the quantities of hay collected.  Calculations require (for each cycle) multipyling the number of days spent at pasture (number of animals x length of stay) by the flock’s average intake. The latter can be calculated using a tool that takes grazing practices and grass quality into account.

How to implement it:

  • This tool includes two different files: a printed paper sheet, for the systematic recording of information about the chosen plots (every time the animals are turned out or grass is cut) and an Excel file that helps process the data ( gathered on the printed sheet) to assess the quantity of used grass per plot. Results can then be calculated per month, season or per year depending on your choice.
1st graph: yearly distribution and quantity of grass used; 2nd graph: quantity of grass used per season and per year; 3rd graph: date of first and last intervention

Every year, over 50% of the total quantity of used grass is used at springtime. On average, farmers used 7 Tons of Dry Matter per ha per year of grass. 25 pastures produced 8.5 TDM/ha/y and 9 pastures produced more than 10 TMS for at least a year. Over 80% of this comes from grazing.


Topic: Nutrition / Management

Production:  Dairy / Meat

Animal Category: Adult / Lamb / Replacement

Issue: Grassland and grazing management

Level of Solution:  Practical

Country: France







lambs on grass
Expected benefits

 Expected benefits: 

Assessing the amount of grass used by the animals on the pasture should help the farmers gain confidence in their practices and provide them with some ideas on how to use their grass.. Practitioners can then adapt their pastures’ management system:

– to compare use levels pastures,
– as an indicator for over/undergrazing,
– to enable the comparison between different production systems (sheep vs. cows, etc.).
– to assess the benefits of resources available on the pasture (leaves and young stems from shrubs).

HerbValo is a method and a tool for recording and calculating the quantity of grass used per year (in kg DM/ha/year). It does not involve any direct measurement on the grassland (no need to measure sward height).


Cost Benefit analysis

Herbvalo aims to maximize the use of grass and then increase grazing. With a better gestion of parcels, it helps reducing the use of fertilizer and manure input. With one visit to discuss the results of the year, it quickly leads to a better use of resources. It takes more time at the beginning to get used to its use, but then it gets easier and more natural.

Sustainability analysis

Using less fertilizer and manure is better for the environment and air quality. Furthermore, by using more grazing, feed self-sufficiency is improved.
It is good for society to see animals grazing and leads to a better image. Also, the use of Herbvalo can lead to the implantation of hedges on pastures. Hedges are good for biodiversity as it is a home for some small animals.


Prerequisites and/or limits 
Basic knowledge of Excel and systematic recording of practices.

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