Getting Greener Grass: Are you ready for turnout?

Soil Association Scotland is inviting farmers to five free events with pasture expert Andre van Barneveld to find out how to prepare for the grazing season ahead.

Feedstocks are expected to be low due to last year’s extreme weather conditions making maximising spring pasture production all the more important.

Andre van Barneveld of Graise Consultancy said: “My approach revolves around rotational grazing.

Grazing stimulates grass growth, but if you have all the stock on all the grass all of the time it doesn’t work – the grass needs time to recover.

He explained that the sparing use of nitrogen fertiliser can reduce costs as well as the environmental impact.

“There’s no point putting it on before grazing as nitrogen can’t stimulate grass growth – if there’s no growth there, you’d be wasting your money.”

He added that small changes now can make a longer-term impact.

“Rotational grazing is better for soils in the long term because it improves root structure, which gives you better grass. It’s all linked in,” he said.

“It’s about truly understanding the value of grass. If you value it, and you manage it through the season it can have a real impact on profitability.”

Knowledge transfer specialist at QMS, Emily Grant, said: “Spring grass is hugely valuable to any livestock system, whether for lambing ewes, calving cows or growing youngstock.

“Making the most of it will help to not only keep feed and housing costs in check but also set up high-quality pastures for the rest of the grazing season.”

The Getting Greener Grass events take place on:

  • Tuesday, February 26: Jurys Inn, Inverness, 10am–1pm, including lunch;
  • Tuesday, February 26: Thainstone Agricultural Centre, Inverurie, 7–10pm;
  • Wednesday, February 27: Gloagburn Farm Shop, Tibbermore, Perth, 12.30–3.30pm, including lunch;
  • Thursday, February 28: Best Western Dryfesdale Country House Hotel, Lockerbie, 10am–1pm, including lunch;
  • Thursday, February 28: The Townhouse Hotel, Melrose, 7–10pm.

Booking is required. Book online or call Lyn on: 078-9979-1748.