4th July 2019

Galashiels Better Grazing Meeting to put Multi Species Swards in the Spotlight

Local livestock farmers who want to find out more about how to make the most out of their grassland through the use of multi-species swards are invited to attend a Better Grazing meeting in Galashiels on Monday 15 July hosted by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

The main aim of the event, 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, clovers, and other crops can benefit soil and livestock throughout the season.

“Although perennial ryegrass is the highest yielding and highest quality grass in the UK, there are other species available including red and white clovers and other crops that farmers can use to meet   livestock needs, improve soil health and help the bottom-line.

 “What works for one farm might not be suitable on another. But I encourage all farmers, whether you have dabbled in a white clover ley or are an experienced multi-species grazier, to attend this Better Grazing group meeting In Galashiels.  Not only will you have the opportunity hear first-hand from a very experienced grazier but will also get the chance to see multi species swards, clover leys and other grazing crops at the practical farm visit.”

Jim Logan, farm host and a speaker at Galashiels Better Grazing meeting, has been farming Pirntaton, a 632-hectare upland livestock unit, for almost 30 years. Mr Logan and his family currently run 2,000 breeding ewes, 120 suckler cows and 300 breeding deer hinds over a mixture of temporary and permanent grassland and significant area of rough grazing.

“We are focused on building a business model and farming system which is profitable, resilient and sustainable without reliance on subsidies.  To do this we have committed to a pastoral grazing system and reducing costs of production whilst at the same time increasing output per hectare. “Multi species leys have the potential to produce some fantastic results.  Persistency may be the issue in certain circumstances,” said Mr Logan.

The meeting will begin at 11:30am at Fountainhall, Old Stage Rd, Galashiels TD1 2SY before moving onto the practical farm visit at Pirntaton Farm after lunch. The meeting will leave attendees better equipped to try different pasture species to suit their own farms. The meeting 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.

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 meeting.

Helen joined Germinal GB in 2005 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 Mrs 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 grassland.

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

Please reserve your place at this meeting using  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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