7 May 1999

BRING IN THE NEW

WANT to know more about using new research and technology to improve your grassland use?

Thats what the Grassland Management — Practice into Profit demonstration hopes to show.

Sponsored by MAFF, the Milk Development Council, the Meat and Livestock Commission, British Seed Houses, Barclays Bank, FARMERS WEEKLY and the British Grassland Society, the project aims to highlight how technology could improve grassland profitability.

Seven colleges and research centres are involved in the project covering a variety of situations including beef, upland and lowland sheep and dairying (see panel).

All seven sites will use new technology to help boost grassland profitability. This will include new seeds mixtures, optimum fertiliser use, grass budgeting, extended season grazing, forage quality, conservation and use of decision support systems.

Each site is recording all inputs and outputs, monitoring grassland and animal performance and carrying out a financial appraisal of the system over the three years each will run.

The final site – Harper Adams – has just signed up, and is gearing up to use new grassland technology. This includes reseeding some leys to boost production.

Liam Sinclair, lecturer in milk production at Harper Adams anticipates that rejuvenating leys and improving management should help boost milk yield from forage by at least 500 litres to 3500 litres in the 180 cow herd.

&#8226 Open days this year are; upland sheep management at IGER Bronydd Mawr on May 27, Grassland Challenges beyond 2000 at IGER North Wyke on June 24, suckler beef at Newton Rigg in September/October and dairying at Duchy College in October. &#42

Open days and group visits

Each site will hold open days, which will be publicised in FARMERS WEEKLY, as well as specific topic days and off-site winter evening meetings.

However, farmer groups are also welcome to visit the centres, with further information available from each site.

SITES

Newton Rigg, Cumbria- dairy and beef.

Gelli Aur, Carmarthen – dairy.

Royal Agricultural College – lowland sheep.

IGER North Wyke, Devon – lowland beef.

IGER Bronydd Mawr, Powys – upland sheep.

Duchy College, Cornwall – dairy.

Harper Adams, Shropshire – dairy.