The main speaker for the day was Poppy Frater, a grassland and sheep specialist with SAC Consulting. She used a mix of presentation and participative techniques to talk about getting the soil correct looking at drainage, pH, fertiliser, soil types etc. She also talked about different grass types for different systems, clover, seed mixtures, establishment types and answered a lot of technical questions. Poppy also introduced the concept of feed budgeting and the practical use of rotational grazing.
Poppy stressed the importance of good soil health for the successful establishment and performance of grass, clover and forage crops, with the most important factors highlighted below:
- soil pH,
- moisture and soil temperature,
- soil structure,
- nutrients (N,P,K and S)
- GRAZE grass down to a residual heitgh of between 3 – 5cm in height to aid better sward recovery (over or under grazed swards take longer to recover and regrow).
- REST fields between grazing to allow grass to recover to the three leaf stage (most productive stage and highest feed quality for livestock)
- MEASURE grass cover and sward height. If the grass is too tall sunlight wont reach the base of the plants resulting in slower regrowth, consider mowing/topping. If grass is to short, livestock have to work much harder to achieve their intakes and the sward will also take much longer to recover.
The meeting included a farm visit to Bomakelloch, were the women looked at the grass reseeds, discussed grass species ID, 3 leaf rule, measuring grass with a plate meter and sward stick and deciding whether or not to top the grass.
- Technical note (TN696): Recommended grass and clover varieties 2017-2018
- The agricultural industry in Scotland is co-operating in a scheme to ensure the continuation of the SRUC Recommended List of grass and clover varieties. The scheme, with the support of NFUS,AIC, SSTA and BSPB, involves a contribution for every kilogram of herbage seed sold.
- Topics: Soils and Crops and Soils
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