Plan­ning ahead for max­i­mum spring graz­ing

The Galloway News - - FARMING -

Live­stock farm­ers in the re­gion are in­vited to at­tend a free“Get Set for Spring:Win­ter Graz­ing Strate­gies” meet­ing be­ing or­gan­ised by Qual­ity Meat Scot­land (QMS) in Kirkcud­bright as part of its Bet­ter Graz­ing pro­gramme

The meet­ing, which is be­ing held atThe Selkirk Arms onTues­day, Septem­ber 25, is ex­pected to at­tract a large turnout of farm­ers, par­tic­u­larly af­ter a very chal­leng­ing 2018 graz­ing sea­son and short­age of for­age sup­plies.

The main aim for the event, ac­cord­ing to Emily Grant, Knowl­edgeTrans­fer Spe­cial­ist at QMS, is to en­sure at­ten­dees leave the meet­ing con­fi­dent about be­ing able to plan for max­i­mum spring pas­ture growth and make the best graz­ing man­age­ment de­ci­sions through the win­ter to achieve this.

“By plan­ning ahead, there are a cou­ple of op­tions that farm­ers can use to ex­tend the graz­ing sea­son,” said Mrs Grant.

“Many farm­ers have also been sowing for­age crops to help fill the gap. Plan­ning now and be­ing pre­pared for win­ter could help make the best use of the pas­ture and for­age stocks you have.

“Win­ter is al­ways a chal­lenge for cat­tle and sheep pro­duc­ers as an­i­mal de­mand is al­ways greater than grass growth rates and the weather can lead to chal­leng­ing ground con­di­tions. But, de­ci­sions made about au­tumn and win­ter graz­ing man­age­ment can have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on early spring grass avail­abil­ity and could help to keep feed costs low.”

Any­one keen to make more from their graz­ing is wel­come to at­tend the meet­ing. Key ar­eas to be cov­ered will in­clude guid­ance on work­ing out stock re­quire­ments, mea­sur­ing grass and for­age crop dry mat­ter, tar­get graz­ing guide­lines, and some tac­tics for deal­ing with ad­verse weather con­di­tions.

Rhid­ian Jones, of RJ Live­stock Sys­tems Ltd, is a sheep, beef and grass­land spe­cial­ist and will be the key speaker at the meet­ing.

The free meet­ing will be­gin at 10:30am and fin­ish at 3.30pm and lunch will be sup­plied. Dur­ing the morn­ing ses­sion, Mr Jones will guide del­e­gates through the key prin­ci­ples of win­ter graz­ing man­age­ment, bud­get­ing and plan­ning. Fol­low­ing lunch there will be a visit to nearby East Kirk­car­swell farm, run by Stu­art An­nand, to look at his for­age crop and some of the prac­ti­cal­i­ties of man­ag­ing graz­ing as ef­fec­tively as pos­si­ble over the win­ter.

You can re­serve your place on the Eventbrite book­ing web­site (search for QMS Bet­ter Graz­ing) or by con­tact­ing QMS direct on 0131 510 7920 or [email protected] qm­scot­land.co.uk.

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