Orkney Managed Grazing Group, a new initiative from Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), is hosting their first open meeting on Tuesday 30 July and invite livestock farmers interested in learning how to use grass in a more financially positive way to attend.
Orkney Managed Grazing currently consists of a core group of six pioneering farmers based on Orkney and Shetland who are working with leading livestock industry experts to develop and implement a managed grazing system that is suited to the local grass growing conditions. The overall aim of the initiative is to increase the profitability of red meat production in Orkney through a peer-to-peer knowledge exchange network.
The meeting, which will start at 10:30am at the Albert Hotel, Kirkwall before moving onto a practical farm visit at Quarterness farm, will be facilitated by pasture expert Michael Blanche who encourages any farmer interested to attend.
“Every day is a school day and an important aspect of the Orkney Managed Grazing group is the opportunity to learn from each other’s mistakes and successes through peer-to-peer knowledge exchange.
“This is a great opportunity to hear first-hand from farmers who have made significant changes to their profitability through rotational grazing.”
The two key speakers for the event, Jim Logan and Robert Fleming, have implemented rotational grazing and made significant changes to their businesses as a result.
Robert Fleming from Glenluce in Wigtonshire has 220 beef cows plus their followers and has between 250 and 600 contract-grazed youngstock on the farm at any one time. He has conducted a number of trials on how much rotational grazing can perform on his farm and can consistently grow over 1 tonne of carcass per hectare per season on the trial areas.
"I have been rotationally grazing cattle in paddocks since 2015. It started as a trial area of 6 ha split into paddocks and has shown me the potential from grass. It's a simple system with huge potential," said Mr Fleming.
Jim Logan 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 hinds and consists of a mixture of temporary and permanent grassland and significant area of rough grazing. Mr Logan was the Borders Grazing Group host farmer in the QMS project started in 2014. He has radically changed his business to move from a heavy reliance on housing and purchased concentrate to a planned rotational grazing policy that makes as much as possible from pastures and forage.
Attendance is free for this event and lunch will be provided. Please ensure you have clean, disinfectable footwear for the farm visit.
Please reserve your place at this meeting click here.