24th November 2016

Grazing Group Meetings to Focus on Lowering Costs of Production

The relationship between grass and low costs of production will be the main topic of discussion at the next round of free Grazing Group meetings organised by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) over the coming weeks.

The main objective of the QMS Grazing Groups is to improve livestock producers’ profitability by maximising the kilograms of meat they produce per hectare by using grass more efficiently.

At the North and North East meetings, Borders Grazing Group host farmer Jim Logan and group member Alan Cowan, both low cost cattle and sheep producers, will share their knowledge and experience with local farmers.

They will focus on how they use grass to keep their costs as low as possible, whilst still maintaining productivity.  The North group will also visit John Scott’s Fearn Farm where he is trialling a range of winter forage crops to fill the gap in the winter when grass growth stops.

The Borders, Perthshire, Lanark and South West Groups will also hear about the relationship between grass and low costs of production from pasture based dairy consultant Andre Van Barneveld.  Mr Van Berneveld is based in Ireland and has a background in dairy farming and consultancy in New Zealand. 

His key interest is in profit through a strong focus on maximising pasture growth and utilisation, controlling costs, pasture and financial budgeting, maximising production through maximising intakes, conversion efficiencies and farming the right animal. 

The South West Group will also visit group member Robert Fleming’s South Milton Farm.  Robert’s Farm is part of Agrii’s iFarm Initiative looking at maximising the use of home-produced forage.  Robert has been getting some impressive performance from his grass and cattle, and is looking to build his system to gain as much production as possible from pasture.

“Given the industry uncertainties that lie ahead, now is a key time to take stock of how your business is placed for the future,” said Emily Grant, QMS Grassland Co-ordinator and one of the meeting facilitators.

“Understanding your costs of production is a very powerful tool in helping to make your business more profitable. It allows you to identify and take control over the aspects of your business that you can change.”

She added: “Although Andre predominantly advises dairy farmers, the principles of his advice apply equally to cattle and sheep.  Grass is our lowest cost feed, and using it well to help drive profitability will be crucial for many farmers going forward.”

Attendance at these workshops is free and lunch is provided. Please note that clean boots are essential for biosecurity.

Grazing Group dates:

North – 5 December 2016, 10.15 – 15.15, meet at Seaboard Centre, Ballintore, Tain, IV20 1UA.

North East – 6 December 2016, 10.15 -15.15, meet at Deeside Activity, Dess, Aboyne, AB34 5BD

Lanark – 7 December 2016, 10.30 -15.00, meet at Thankerton Hall, Thankerton, ML12 6NZ.

South West – 8 December 2016, 10.00 – 15.15, meet at Glen of Luce Hall, Auchenmalg, Glenluce, DG8 0JR

Borders – 9 December 2016, 10.00 -15.15, meet at Fountainhall Village Hall, Stow, TD1 2SY

Perthshire – 15 December 2016, 10.00 – 15.30, meet at The Birnam Institute, Station Rd, Birnam, Dunkeld PH8 0DS

For further information on the Grazing Group meetings and to book a place at one of the six forthcoming meetings, contact QMS on 0131 472 4040 or email: egrant@qmscotland.co.uk

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