Farmer Focus: Grass rotations shortened to maintain quality

Grass growth is now peaking and cattle and lambs are really thriving. The countryside and nature is at its most beautiful and many days are spent in awe of the wonderful wee world we live in – life is good.

The rotations have been shortened to try and maintain grass quality. Swedes and fodder beet have been sown. Kale and swift will be sown and bales will be placed in the winter fields in the next week.

I had two very enjoyable and inspirational days away this month. The first was a day with our Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) grazing group.

See also: How to set up rotational grazing on your beef farm

We visited one of the organic farms within the group and, as always, the discussions left my head spinning with an information overload.

The second day was a sheep meeting on a friend’s farm. I love going to there because, being the outstanding young farmer my friend is, you always leave inspired.

The attention to detail he and his stockman have is incredible and he makes all his decisions based on information that he collects and records continuously.

I keep the annual QMS benchmarking book on my desk and regularly use it to compare my sheep figures and mostly I end up with a feeling of despair. But at least it gives me a target.

When I started paddock grazing my fattening cattle the locals all thought I was mad. When I told them (and lots of “experts”) about seeing cattle in New Zealand doing 2-3kg daily liveweight gain (DLWG) in this system the reply was always: “Ah but that’s New Zealand.” And that was even from the “experts”.

Interestingly, there are lots of people paddock grazing now – even the “experts” think it’s a great idea.

It’s still surprising how few people monitor DLWG’s – it comes back to the old adage “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”.

In the Damn Delicious shop Michelle has introduced fresh hot pies and sandwiches and they are proving very popular.

She has also introduced lots of new heavily discounted packs which everyone seems to love. I’m not so keen – the issue is the “discounted” part.