Better Grazing meetings to put multi-species swards in the spotlight

Livestock farmers are invited to attend one of the five free meetings organised by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) as part of its Better Grazing programme that will feature multi-species swards for grazing, focussing on optimising production.

The meetings, which will be held across Scotland between July 10 and 16, are expected to attract a large turnout and help farmers make the most out of their grassland.

The main aim for the events, according to Dr. Heather McCalman, knowledge transfer specialist at QMS, is to attendees understand how multi-species swards – such as including a range of grasses and clovers – can benefit both soil and livestock.

She said: “Although perennial ryegrass is the highest yielding and highest quality of grass in the UK, there are other species available including red and white clovers and other grasses that farmers can use to benefit soil and livestock.

“What works for one farm might not work for another. But I encourage all farmers, whether you have dabbled in a white clover ley or are an experienced multi-species grazier, to attend the Better Grazing meetings.

Not only will you have the opportunity to hear first-hand from some experienced graziers, but attendees will also get the chance to see multi species swards and clover leys at the practical farm visits.

The events will include an overview of the benefits and issues of the main species available for grazing swards, covering grasses and herbs as well as legumes, such as red and white clovers, and how multi-species swards can improve growth rates in livestock.

The meetings will include a farm visit so that those attending will leave better equipped to try different pasture species to suit their own farms.

Helen Mathieu, area manager for Germinal GB, will be the key speaker at the meetings. She will be joined by farmer speakers at each event who will help facilitate the practical farm visits.

“The potential benefits of a multispecies forage approach to both livestock health and performance as well as the potential soil enhancement features are widely acknowledged,” Mathieu said.

“What is less well understood is which type of species (legume, herb or grass) will grow where, how you establish and then manage it within the challenges of your farming system.

This series of meetings will help us all identify the potential challenges and opportunities for multispecies forages in your area.

Now in its third year, the main objective of the QMS Better Grazing Groups is to improve livestock producers’ profitability through the better use of grazed grass.

The Better Grazing meetings will take place on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, July 10: Seabord Memorial Hall, East St, Balintore, Tain, IV20 1UA;
  • Thursday, July 11: James Hutton Institute Glensaugh Farm Laurencekirk, AB30 1HB;
  • Friday, July 12: Birnham Arts Centre, Station Rd, Birnam, Dunkeld PH8 0DS;
  • Monday, July 15: Fountainhall Village Hall, Old Stage Rd, Fountainhall, Galashiels TD1 2SY;
  • Tuesday, July 16: Woodland House Hotel Woodlands Ave, New Bridge, Dumfries DG2 0HZ.

Attendance at these workshops is free and lunch will be provided. Please ensure you have clean, disinfectable footwear for the farm visit.

Places at these meetings can be reserved on the QMS Eventbrite booking page.