28th November 2016

Free Workshops Focus on Winter Grazing Strategies for Ewes

The first in a series of free events funded by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) focusing on the management of overwintered ewes will be held on Tuesday 13th December at Carstairs Village Hall in Lanark.

The aim of the workshops is to explore cost effective, practical solutions to provide forage to ewes over the winter period once grass growth slows.

Organised by SAC Consulting, part of SRUC, Scotland’s Rural College, the events are targeted at those who farm breeding ewes and find they have abundant grass in the summer but are stretched over the winter to have sufficient to meet their ewe’s nutritional requirements.

“Sheep farmers often face the challenge of having too many sheep in the winter for the grazing available.  It can be a significant cost to support these ewes nutritionally by other means” said Michael Blanche, Knowledge Transfer Specialist at QMS.

“This series of workshops will look at the low cost techniques some farmers are successfully using to overcome this challenge. These include producing forage crops, rotational grazing and targeted nutrition.”

The first in the series of four events being held throughout Scotland will be hosted by Andrew and Jen Baillie of Carstairs Mains farm. The couple have a livestock enterprise which is made up of breeding sheep and cattle. The sheep include a 400 head commercial flock and a 200 head pedigree flock of Beltex and Texel ewes.

The Baillie family have tackled the challenge of lack of grazing through the winter by successfully introducing an “all grass wintering” management technique. This involves the use of rotational grazing after tupping, using relatively small electric fenced paddocks, allocating the right amount of grass for the ewes and moving them on frequently.

The workshop on Tuesday 13th December will begin at 10.30am in Carstairs Village hall where attendees will hear an introduction to the Carstairs Mains system, before visiting the farm to view the ewes on the rotational grazing.

Lunch will be followed by a technical afternoon session back at Carstairs Village hall, looking at some alternative options for overwintering ewes. The workshop will end at 3pm.

The December event will be followed by three further workshops in early 2017 which will focus on different methods of overwintering ewes:

  • Tuesday 14th February 2017 at Fearn Farm, Tain by kind permission of John Scott
  • Wednesday 15th February 2017 at Brogan Farms, Newburgh, Ellon by kind permission of Dane Davidson
  • Tuesday 21st February 2017 at Theepwood Farm, Galston, by kind permission of Jimmy Gibb.

If you would like to attend the event at Carstairs on Tuesday 13 December, please contact SAC Consulting in Lanark on 01555 662562 or email fbslanark@sac.co.uk. For further information about all of these events please visit the QMS website – www.qmscotland.co.uk/events   

Sign up for the latest news and views