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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FEED AND NUTRITION

How a Gloucestershire herd makes MOPF of £1,656 a cow

Producing quality silage and block calving in the summer are allowing a Gloucestershire dairy to hit a margin over purchased feed (MOPF) of £1,656 a cow (27p/litre). The crossbred herd…

BEEF

How a Salers herd aims to become carbon neutral by 2035

Mixed farmer Conor Colgan is using increasingly sophisticated methods and research to increase the efficiency of his farm in an attempt to become carbon neutral. Relatively basic improvements in herd…

BEEF

Why one farmer switched to Parthenaise beef breed

The Parthenaise breed is one of the oldest in France and has been refined over the past 50 years to produce high-quality beef. Its meat is some of the most…

SHEEP

How a Lincs sheep farm expanded and diversified income

A progressive approach to flock health, combined with hard work and savvy marketing, has seen a Lincolnshire couple expand their sheep business and income. Chris and Louise Elkington of Gelston,…

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

How farmer gets 11,000 litres from grazed Holstein herd

Wiltshire farmer Robert Mallett and his wife Maria are defying convention by producing nearly 11,000 litres of milk from their autumn-calving herd of grass-fed cows. Like most high-yielding herds, Mr…

Practical advice

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FEED AND NUTRITION

Q&A: Growing and feeding drought-tolerant lucerne

Lucerne is a deep-rooted, nitrogen-fixing crop that has seen a surge in interest among livestock farmers looking for a drought-tolerant fodder option. Sam Lane, technical manager at Cotswold Seeds, and…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Expert tips to control soft rush in grassland

It is estimated that about 10% of the UK’s 5.18m hectares of rough grazing is in-bye pasture that is at risk from soft rush. A dense and unpalatable plant, it…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How to improve crude protein levels in silage

Grass yields may be rising but crude protein levels in silage are still relatively low across most of the UK. Environmental regulations, lower fertiliser use and selection of unsuitable varieties…

SHEEP

6 expert tips to reduce lamb days to slaughter

Sheep farmers looking to improve profitability should put more emphasis on getting lambs finished quicker by exploiting good-quality grass. Selling lambs early contributes 45% to overall profitability. In comparison, achieving…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

7 tips on silage aftermath nutrition

Livestock farms looking to maximise silage production should avoid delays to aftercut fertilisers, which could result in cutting yields by 10% – or 370kg/ha – for each day of delay.…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

A guide to assessing and improving grassland drainage

Up to 70% of grassland farms could benefit from improved field drainage, according to Adas national specialist Kirk Hill. One in 10 pastures is severely compacted and soil moisture issues…

Insights

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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…

DAIRY

4 messages for the dairy industry

More than 15,000 farmers attended the biannual Teagasc Moorepark Research Open day in Fermoy, County Cork, on 4 July to learn about the latest research being conducted at the centre. …

FEED AND NUTRITION

Benefits of switching to a multi-cut silage system

Many dairy farmers are now looking to lift milk solids production as they move to manufacturing contracts. In a new four-part series, Farmers Weekly will be examining how fat and…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

First-cut grass silage - when is best for top quality?

There seems to be an unwritten rule that first cut grass silage is taken around 15 May  when 50% of the sward is at the point of ear emergence.  This…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Why farmers will pay heavily for not reseeding grassland

The lack of pasture rejuvenation of UK farms could mean farmers will pay a hefty price as they look to increase production from home-grown forage. The amount of temporary grass,…

LIVESTOCK

How reducing maize seed rates could save money

Cutting maize seed rates by 5-10% has the potential to lift starch levels by 2-3% and bring harvest date forward by three to five days, according to John Burgess, maize…

Video

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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…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Video: Should you do a full reseed or renovate pasture?

In most cases, if a sward is past its best, there is no substitute for ploughing. However, overseeding can also be beneficial. In the video below, Germinal’s Daniel Loe sets…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Buyers guide to grass-measuring equipment

There is a range of grass-measuring equipment and software on the market, which means choosing the right one can be a minefield. Farmers Weekly looked at a range of measuring…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Video: How near-infra red technology measures grass quality

Near infra-red spectroscopy (NIRS) technology is helping grassland farmers produce better quality silage by pinpointing when grass is at the optimum nutritional value for harvesting. At Grassland & Muck 2017, Limagrain demonstrated…