Video: Arable farmer introduces livestock to crop rotation

One grower’s experiences of introducing livestock into the rotation of a Hertfordshire arable farm have been discussed in a new video from AHDB Cereal and Oilseeds.

Royston Monitor Farm host Jo Franklin and her partner Rob Hodgkins are in their third year of grazing New Zealand Romney sheep on stubble turnips around Lower Heath Farm.

By April next year they hope to have 1,100 breeding ewes on the farm, with a plan to increase this number to between 1,200 and 1,500 by the following year.

Ms Franklin said: “We had been looking for a way to introduce livestock on to the farm, as we’re on some very hungry chalk soils and they need the presence of livestock and manure to keep them alive.”

“We get a fairly tried and tested 0.5t/ha yield advantage for a cereal crop following sheep grazing. What’s not so easy to measure is the life in the soil that it leaves behind.”

See also: How grazing livestock can beat blackgrass

“I think the modern way to make mixed farming work is to take two experts – one in arable and one in livestock – and to make a partnership, rather than someone trying to be a master of all trades.”

The short film concludes with some basic technical guidance for growers who are considering introducing livestock from AHDB Beef and Lamb regional manager Nerys Wright.

Read more on how sheep have boosted fertility and spring barley yields at Lower Heath Farm.

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