27th June 2019

Better Grazing Meetings to put Multi Species Swards in the Spotlight

Livestock farmers are invited to attend one of the five free meetings organised by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) as part of its Better Grazing programme that will feature multi species swards for grazing, focussing on optimising production.

The meetings, which will be held across Scotland on the 10 to 16 of July, are expected to attract a large turnout of farmers looking to learn how to make the most out of their grassland through the use of multi-species swards.

The main aim for the events, according to Dr Heather McCalman, Knowledge Transfer Specialist at QMS, is to ensure attendees leave the meeting with a better understanding about how multi species swards that include a range of grasses and clovers can benefit soil and livestock.

“Although perennial ryegrass is the highest yielding and highest quality of grass in the UK, there are other species available including red and white clovers and other grasses that farmers can use to benefit soil and livestock.

 “What works for one farm might not work for another. But I encourage all farmers, whether you have dabbled in a white clover ley or are an experienced multi-species grazier, to attend the Better Grazing meetings. Not only will you have the opportunity hear first-hand from some experienced graziers, but attendees will also get the chance to see multi species swards and clover leys at the practical farm visits.”

The meetings, which will kick off on Wednesday 10 July, will be held in Tain, Laurencekirk, Dunkeld, Galashiels and Dumfries.  The events will include an overview of the benefits and issues of the main species available for grazing swards, covering grasses and herbs as well as legumes like red and white clovers and how multi species swards can also benefit a farmers back-pocket by improving growth rates in livestock. The meetings will include a practical, hands-on farm visit so that those attending will leave better equipped to try different pasture species to suit their own farms.

Helen Mathieu, Area Manager for Germinal GB who has many years’ experience working with farmers and merchants formulating and managing seeds mixtures, will be the key speaker at the meetings. She will be joined by farmer speakers at each event who will help facilitate the practical farm visits.

Helen joined Germinal GB in 2005 as Area Manager and a major part of Helen’s role is to work alongside livestock farmers to help maximise returns from forage by maintaining a focus on the production, management and utilisation of forage.

“The potential benefits of a multispecies forage approach to both livestock health and performance as well as the potential soil enhancement features are widely acknowledged. What is less well understood is which type of species (legume, herb or grass) will grow where, how you establish and then manage it within the challenges of your farming system.  This series of meetings will help us all identify the potential challenges and opportunities for multispecies forages in your area,” said Ms Mathieu.

Now in its third year, the main objective of the QMS Better Grazing Groups is to improve livestock producers’ profitability through the better use of grazed grass. The Better Grazing meetings will be held on the following dates: 

Wednesday 10 July - Seabord Memorial Hall, East St, Balintore, Tain, IV20 1UA. Click here to register.

Thursday 11 July – James Hutton Institute Glensaugh  Farm Laurencekirk, AB30 1HB. Click here to register.

Friday 12 July – Birnham Arts Centre, Station Rd, Birnam, Dunkeld PH8 0DS. Click here to register.

Monday 15 July – Fountainhall Village Hall, Old Stage Rd, Fountainhall, Galashiels TD1 2SY. Click here to register.

Tuesday 16 July – Woodland House Hotel Woodlands Ave, New Bridge, Dumfries DG2 0HZ. Click here to register.

Attendance at these workshops is free and lunch will be provided.  Please ensure you have clean, disinfectable footwear for the farm visit.

Places at these meetings can be reserved on the Eventbrite booking website (search for QMS Better Grazing) or by contacting Laura Strang at QMS direct on 01315105476 or lstrang@qmscotland.co.uk


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