Getting back to grass roots
Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) has launched a new initiative to get farmers and crofters making better use of grass.
The red meat levy body’s Better Grazing programme follows on from the success of its Grazing Group project which concluded in March.
It sets out to help livestock producers find ways to improve the utilisation of grass on their farms and increase the amount of meat produced per acre.
Six groups will be set up in Perth, Inverurie, Inverness, Campbeltown, Lockerbie and Melrose.
Each group will meet four times a year and instead of being based around a host farm, as was the case with the previous scheme, the new initiative will consist of farm visits to enterprises where changes to grazing management have been made.
Farm visits will also be made to group members who are keen to make better use of their grass with help and support from the rest of the group.
QMS said the topics being covered over the course of the three-year project include: grazing strategies; wintering systems; fencing and watering options; how to extend the grazing system; soil management; the control of internal parasites and ruminant nutrition. Meetings will include presentations from a range of expert speakers and farmers from across Scotland who will share their experience of how they improved grassland management on their farms.
For example, Dunkeld farmer Alex Brewster will speak at the launch of the Inverness regional grazing group next month.
Mr Brewster, who previously hosted the Perthshire Grazing Group at his 2,400-acre Rotmell Farm, said: “There is no doubt the grazing group experience has put us on the right road to building a viable business in what is just now an uncertain farming industry.”
QMS head of industry development, Douglas Bell, urged all livestock farmers to get involved and learn more about improving their output from grass.
He said: “The Better Grazing programme provides a great opportunity for livestock farmers to improve their current grazing management and the impact on their bottom line.
“Farmers involved with the original QMS Grazing Group project have shown that making changes to their grazing has led to an increase in their farms profitability, not only through reduced costs but also by increasing output.”
The north-east event takes place at the Thainstone Centre, Inverurie, on Thursday, August 10, while the Inverness meeting takes place on Friday, August 11 at NTS Culloden.