Fresh Grass Analysis

Published 19 May 16

Impact of harvesting technique, storage technique and storage duration on the composition of fresh grass

Project Details:

In order to optimise production from grazed grass, and to ensure that grass is ensiled at the optimum time, farmers frequently submit samples from grazing and silage fields to laboratories for analysis. These samples are normally analysed using Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy (NIRS).

While NIRS can accurately predict the composition of fresh grass, many factors may contribute to changes in the composition of the grass between the time of harvest and analysis in the laboratory. Understanding this change will help relate results to in-field conditions.


This study was undertaken to examine the effect of:

  • harvest technique
  • storage duration
  • storage temperature
  • storage conditions

on the composition of fresh grass analysed by NIRS.

Start Date:
March 2015

Completion Date:
January 2016

Lead Contractor:
Agri-food and Biosciences Institute, Northern Ireland

Other Delivery Partners:
Project part of the AHDB Dairy Grassland, Forage and Soils Research Partnership led by SRUC.

AHDB Dairy

A summary of the project results can be downloaded here

For further information please contact or call 024 7647 8704.