Grassland and Muck 2014: ‘Grass needs same attention as an arable crop’

Grass needs the same attention to detail as an arable crop was one of the key messages on the opening day of Grassland & Muck 2014.

Thousands of visitors have descended on the site at Stoneleigh to see a huge range of sown grass plots and forage machinery to see in action.

David Gardner, chief executive of the RASE, opened the event alongside dairy farmer David Cotton, and Rosie Carne, marketing manager at Yare.

“Producing good farm forage is critically important to livestock businesses these days,” said Mr Cotton.

Milking 200 dairy cows at Bridge Farm, West Bradley, Somerset, Mr Cotton has won the RASE Excellence in Practical Farming and Business Award this year, and like many farmers is constantly trying to get more milk from forage.

“We really need to be treating grass more like an arable crop – we weigh every load we take off arable fields and need to be doing the same with grass.”

After a dreadful couple of seasons for grass growth and quality, farmers were pleased to making plenty of good-quality silage this year, said Ms Carne.

“Few farmers have forage stocks to carry over – it just underlines how important it really is,” she said. “We’re seeing increased NPK fertiliser sales to maximise early yields and get clamps refilled.”

With more than 240 exhibitors across 190 acres, the themes of this year’s Grassland & Muck Event are valuing grass, best practice techniques, and, ultimately, maximising returns from the crop.

“The muck demonstration areas are always popular as farmers increasingly strive to make best use of their manure,” said Mr Gardner. “Fertiliser is a limited global resource and farmers have to get a better understanding of what they have already got – both in terms of soil nutrients and muck analysis.

Grassland & Muck  will also run on Thursday 22 May (8.30-4pm). 

Visitors can earn four BASIS CPD points for attending either day of the event.

See all of the coverage from Grassland and Muck 2014

(Image courtesy of Aero High Altitude Digital Imaging)