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New Entrants to Farming: Grassland Management: Above and Below the Soil (Forfar)

1 November 2017

This was the 5th meeting of the New Entrants to Farming group based around Forfar.  The main speakers on the night were Poppy Frater, SAC Consulting and David Ross, SAC Consulting with Stacey Hamilton, also from SAC Consulting facilitating and contributing to discussions.

Poppy’s presentation got the group thinking about the basics of grass production and utilising the grass to the best of its ability.  Topics that were covered included:

  • Improving grass yields
  • Increasing the quality of the grass grown on farm
  • How best to utilise grass and extend grazing periods

The presentation was very interactive and the group was split out into smaller groups to discuss the inputs required for good grassland management which was then fed back and discussed within the main group.  There was a great in-depth discussion about grazing management and different methods that can be used including paddock and rotational grazing.  It was discussed whether or not these grazing systems work in the wet ground conditions currently being experienced in the area.  Poppy finished of with a good take home message to the group that soil health, grazing management and reseeding are the three key areas to consider for good grassland management.

Following on from this David Ross, SAC Consulting went on to discuss soil nutrition with the group.  This started off with taking the group “back to basics” and getting them to think about the soil on their farms and the availability of nutrients.  Nutrient budgeting was then covered with the group which was a very interactive session on discussing what different opinions people had on fertiliser and organic manure use.

With the industry becoming more and more technology driven David went on to explore the use of GPs and precision farming on grassland.  The group showed a great interest in this topic and provided many interesting questions and opinions.

The take home messages to come out this session were:

  • Get your fields analysed – you can’t do nutrient budgets without knowing what nutrients are in the soil.
  • Go out and dig holes in fields causing problems – soil structure plays a major role in good grassland production.
  • When it comes to precision farming less nutrients can be applied but they are more targeted to the areas in need within the field.
Related Downloads
Better Soil and Grassland Management
Soil is the raw material from which most food is produced, and is a precious natural resource. Soil conditions on beef and sheep farms directly influence how well grass and forage crops grow, and the quality of feed they produce. As soil plays such an integral part in farming, it is important to assess and monitor its chemical and physical properties.

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