Farmers attending the next round of the Grazing Group meetings will have the chance to benefit from some practical and interesting research that grazing expert Philip Creighton has undertaken in Ireland. The meetings, which are free to attend and organised by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), will take place across Scotland between 29th February and 4th March.
The aim of the grazing groups is to increase kg of liveweight produced per hectare through better utilisation of grass. The groups, established by QMS in 2014, have been meeting regularly to try and achieve this and Mr Creighton plans to use case studies from commercial farms in Ireland at these forthcoming meetings to show how farmers in Scotland can improve their profits by making better use of grass.
Mr Creighton is a graduate of in Animal and Crop Production at University College Dublin and established the Grassland Research and Innovation Centre in Galway in April 2011 which focuses on sheep and cattle grassland systems research.
Mr Creighton is looking forward to his first visit to the Scottish Grazing Groups and sees a lot of similarities and potential in both Ireland and Scotland. He said: "Although there is more upland grazing in Scotland and there may not be the same production potential in some areas, the principles of grassland management are the same and can be adapted to suit different types of farms."
Mr Creighton recognises that improved production and efficiency will not happen overnight. The research figures he has for the meetings are based on four years and he said: "Soil fertility and weather have a big part to play in identifying how much grass a farm can grow but long-term accumulation of information should lead to identifying the best stocking rates to maximise output."
Many farmers in Scotland are considering starting grass measuring, rotational grazing and experimenting with increased stocking rates and Mr Creighton will highlight some case studies of farms in Ireland where changes in grassland management have been successful.
The first Grazing Group meeting takes place at Dunkeld on Monday 29th February, followed by Aboyne on Tuesday 1st March, Tain on 2nd, Lanark on 3rd and finally Galashiels on 4th March. The meetings begin at 10am and lunch will be provided. For further information and to register a place visit www.qmscotland.co.uk/events or phone 0131 472 4040.