Grass­land scheme launched

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - COUNTRYSIDE -

Farm­ers in Scot­land are be­ing sought to take part in GrassCheckGB, a pi­lot pro­gramme set to help farm­ers im­prove their grass­land man­age­ment.

A re­cent study car­ried out by the AgriFood and Bio­sciences In­sti­tute (AFBI) high­lighted the im­por­tance of im­prov­ing grass­land man­age­ment ef­fi­ciency as a key driver of prof­itabil­ity on beef and sheep farms across the UK.

The re­search showed that im­prov­ing pas­ture util­i­sa­tion by one tonne per hectare is worth an ad­di­tional profit of £204 per hectare per year to a beef farm.

GrassCheckGB aims to im­prove grass­land pro­duc­tiv­ity and pas­ture util­i­sa­tion on beef and sheep farms through a new grass­land per­for­mance mon­i­tor­ing net­work.

This will col­late data from across GB to en­able bet­ter pre­dic­tions of grass growth us­ing weather data com­bined with grass growth and qual­ity data from a wide range of beef and sheep farms

Dr Heather McCal­man, Qual­ity Meat Scot­land knowl­edge trans­fer spe­cial­ist, said: “This is a great op­por­tu­nity for farm­ers to get in­volved in a new GB-wide ini­tia­tive which could make a real dif­fer­ence to man­ag­ing grass sup­ply to meet live­stock de­mand in the fu­ture.”

Dr McCal­man said the feed­back re­ceived by pi­lot farm­ers in­volved will help in­form their grazing man­age­ment de­ci­sions and im­prove ef­fi­ciency to ben­e­fit their bot­tom lines. The out­puts of the project will not only help those farm­ers di­rectly in­volved to im­prove their grass­land man­age­ment, she said, it will also help hun­dreds of other farm­ers around the coun­try.

She added: “The launch is tak­ing place as the ex­tent of the prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with the pro­longed pe­riod of dry weather be­come in­creas­ingly ap­par­ent. The lessons learned dur­ing this project should help to mit­i­gate the im­pact of ex­treme weather in the fu­ture.”

Ap­pli­ca­tions to par­tic­i­pate in GrassCheckGB are now be­ing sought. Ap­pli­ca­tion forms and in­for­ma­tion packs can be down­loaded from www.CIELive­stock. co.uk For gen­eral queries con­tact CIEL, tele­phone 01904 567716 or email en­quiries@ cielive­stock.co.uk.

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