New guide to identify opportunities to improve grass utilisation

A new guide hopes to help livestock farmers seeking to improve their profitability through better grazing management, by explaining the theory behind managed grazing and how to implement a simple system on-farm.

The guide – ‘Introducing a Rotational Grazing System’ – summarises information presented at Quality Meat Scotland’s three-year Better Grazing project workshops.

It provides insight on how to implement a simple system on your own farm, including:
  • Grazing terminology;
  • Fundamentals of grass;
  • The importance of grass quality and how to maintain it;
  • Understanding the benefits of grass measuring;
  • Calculating supply and demand for your stock;
  • Setting up a rotational grazing system.

Commenting on the importance of grass utilisation, QMS Head of Industry Development, Bruce McConachie, said: “Well managed grassland can provide many benefits including increased yields and growth rates with reduced input costs. Rotational grazing is one of the easiest ways to see these benefits.

Scotland’s climate is well suited to growing grass. However, it’s not just about the quantity of grass we can grow here – quality is also fundamental to maximising its value for livestock.

“The new guide has been developed to encourage new grazers to give rotational grazing a try, whilst reminding established grazers of the core principles, actions, and targets to maximise both quality and quantity, and turn grass, our cheapest and best feed, into meat.”

Measuring grass regularly will give an indication of how grass growth rates are changing through the season. This information can then be used to identify future surpluses or deficits, and plan to deal with these ahead of time.

For example, if late spring grass growth is forging ahead of stock needs, then a decision can be made to shut a field off for silage.

If grass growth is falling behind livestock needs, a decision could be made to wean early or sell.