Know How / Grassland management

In the current challenging climate, all livestock producers are under pressure to maximise the cheapest food source – grass.
See the latest thinking on grazing methods, forage systems, reseeding and varieties as well as how others are making more from grass.

Case studies

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BEEF

How outwintering cut suckler farm costs to 243p/kg

Outwintering youngstock and stores has been the final piece in the profitability jigsaw for a first-generation Scottish tenant farmer. Former Farmer Focus writer Giles Henry, of Oakwood Mill, Selkirk, has…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How increased grass helped new heifer venture on sheep farm

A Welsh sheep farm is growing 4t dry matter (DM)/ha more grass a year by adopting a rotational grazing system and managing grass well, allowing it to support a new…

BEEF

Organic mob grazing system cuts £380/livestock unit on estate

A Scottish livestock operation has removed £200,000 of costs in an ambitious system rethink based on outwintering, forage finishing and soil health.  The Balcaskie Estate in Fife has adopted organic,…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How a dairy farmer gets 14t/ha DM of grass with minimal inputs

A large-scale organic dairy farming business is growing up to 14t/ha dry matter of grass on its silage ground with minimum inputs since increasing soil organic matter fourfold. Wil Armitage…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How soil focus avoids supplementary feeding on Welsh farm

A system of grazing dictated by a strict pasture recovery period is building soil organic matter and increasing plant diversity on a Welsh livestock farm that produces lamb from grass…

SHEEP

How sheep dairy new entrant has doubled size of flock

A new entrant to dairy sheep farming has doubled his flock size less than a year after buying his first ewes, amid strengthening demand for milk. Huw Jones secured a…

Practical advice

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FEED AND NUTRITION

How forage analysis can improve winter sheep feed planning

Sheep farmers were reminded of the importance of getting forage analysed to create a winter feed plan, at the recent Virtual Celebration of Sheep Farming. Speaking at a webinar organised…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

5 fundamentals to achieve healthy soils

Healthy soil is a farm’s number one asset, and is critical to growing crops and livestock, enriching ecosystems, sequestering carbon and preventing flooding. But what does healthy soil look like?…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Guide to growing grass seed for mixed farmers

Grass seed is a “high-risk, high-reward” crop that can prove hugely profitable for good mixed farmers with an eye for detail. Some 8,000ha (20,000 acres) of grass seed is grown…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

A guide to mob grazing livestock

Mob grazing is growing in popularity as farmers seek new ways of grazing livestock to improve soil health.  They key difference that sets mob grazing apart from rotational grazing is…

YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

Outsourcing heifer rearing: What you need to consider

Heifer rearing is one of the most important jobs on the farm because they are the future of your herd. However, if you haven’t got the time, resource or facilities,…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Advice on combating the growing problem of grassland rushes

Invasive species of tussock-forming rushes, such as soft rush, hard rush and compact rush, have been increasing in upland areas, reducing the productivity of the land and the number of…

Insights

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HEALTH AND WELFARE

How regenerative farming can improve livestock health

Claire Whittle is a veterinary surgeon at LLM Farm Vets. She has been awarded a 2021 Nuffield Farming Scholarship for work on regenerative agriculture in the livestock sector. She explains…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

5 tips from NZ to increase sheep flock returns by 30%

UK sheep farmers can achieve a 30% increase in flock gross margins by adopting five principles used in New Zealand, a consultant claims. Murray Rohloff says while benefits will vary…

ENVIRONMENT

Climate impact of grass-fed cattle overestimated, says study

Cattle that graze pasture rich in white clover produce just half the amount of nitrous oxide than previously thought, according to a study carried out by Rothamsted Research. The findings…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Grassland survey: Farmers seeing gains from testing soils

Farmers are taking an increasingly measured approach to their grassland and manure management, helping to cut costs and improve efficiencies. A new survey carried out by the organisers of the…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How to profit from forage-based dairy-beef system

Forage-based dairy-beef systems are profitable even in extreme weather conditions, a two-year study at Harper Adams University has concluded. The project investigated whether it was feasible to finish dairy-bred beef…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Video: How satellites could revolutionise grass measuring

A number of farms in Wales are turning to a new pioneering satellite technology system, in an effort to get further data on their pasture measurements. In addition to the…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Applying natural hormone to grass could lift yields 1.2t DM/ha

Applying a natural hormone to grass after fertiliser could help farmers boost yields by up to 1.2t DM/ha, trials have shown. Pearce Seeds and chemical company Nufarm carried out trials…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Cattle bounce back after poor fodder beet growth rates

A project at Harper Adams is investigating if it is feasible to finish dairy-bred beef calves on forage alone.  The project, led by Adas and funded by AHDB Beef &…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How Finnish farmers have doubled grass growth

The short, five-month grass growing season that Finnish farmers face will strike a chord with many UK counterparts following one of the toughest spring growing seasons on record. Yet progressive…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How livestock producers in NI are making better use of grass

A collaboration between researchers, farmers and industry in Northern Ireland is helping livestock producers make better use of grass. Established in 1999, the GrassCheck project is operated by Northern Ireland’s…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Promising weight gains made from grass in dairy beef study

Last October, work to investigate the feasibility of a low-cost dairy beef production system was launched at Harper Adams University with the aim of maximising output from forage and minimising…

AHDB resources

See AHDB resources on rotational grazing

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Video

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GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Video: Silage gas escape sparks health and safety alert

A video on Twitter showing a deadly brown gas escaping from a freshly clamped silage pit has sparked a health and safety warning, after the gas was identified as the…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How to ‘home-test’ grass to know when to cut for silage

With late application of fertiliser and slurry to crops this spring, it has never been more important to test grass before cutting for silage. Excess nitrogen is a risk in…

BEEF

Video: Return of native beef breed benefits Welsh farm

Livestock farmer Richard Lewis swapped his Limousin cattle for native Welsh Blacks and has seen the farm flourish. He invested in 45 head of the cattle, which was quite an…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Cell grazing improves liveweight production from grass

Cornish young farmer and engineer James Daniel believes UK farmers can grow more grass than their New Zealand counterparts by harnessing rotational grazing strategies. Following a six-month stint working in…