A new farming podcast has been capturing the attention of Northern Ireland farmers during Covid-19 restrictions. The GrassCheck podcast is an adaption of its popular grass growth forecast, and is produced in-house by AgriSearch’s General Manager Jason Rankin.
Weekly GrassCheck forecasts have been complied by AgriSearch with the support of AFBI, CAFRE and 40 GrassCheck farmers for many years. They provide up-to-date grass information to assist farmers with grassland management decisions and support improvements in grass utilisation on livestock farms. At this time of year AgriSearch would also have been hosting GrassCheck farm walks but Covid-19 restrictions have made these impossible.
AgriSearch, like many organisations, have therefore been modifying how they communicate with ongoing social distancing restrictions leading to an increased use of digital technology, such as on-demand audio podcasts.
“The GrassCheck podcast offers a convenient way for farmers to access quality information through their smartphone as they go about their day without having to leave the farm,” explained Jason Rankin.
“By podcasting we can take a deeper dive into the topic and it lets us focus individually on dairy, sheep or beef production. Each episode features interviews with technical experts, scientists and farmers to share knowledge and learn from practical experience.”
“We look forward to being able to host farm walks again but until then podcasting is an alternative way that AgriSearch can share farmer-funded research and promote best practice as farms continue to contend with the impact of a very dry spring.”
Five episodes of the GrassCheck podcast are currently available on the AgriSearch website, with regular instalments planned throughout the season.
Originally established in 1999, the GrassCheck project aims to provide high quality, up-to-date grass information to assist farmers with grassland management decisions and support improvements in grass utilisation on Northern Ireland livestock farms. Operated by AgriSearch and AFBI, the project monitors weekly grass growth and quality and provides seven and 14 day grass growth rate forecasts to support farmers in managing pasture surpluses and deficits throughout the growing season. To find out more about GrassCheck visit www.agrisearch.org/grasscheck.