4th July 2019

Tain 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 Tain on Wednesday 10 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 for another for 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 meeting in Tain. Not only will you have the opportunity hear first-hand from an experienced graziers, but attendees will also get the chance to see multi species swards and clover leys at the practical farm visit”

John Scott, farm host and speaker at the Tain Better Grazing meeting, currently keeps a mix of pedigree and commercial livestock an arable enterprise at Fearn Farm and said he is looking forward to sharing his experience of using multi species swards with the farmers and specialists in attendance.

“We have been using multi species leys for a number of years now, it would be fair to say we have had mixed experience with them and haven’t quite cracked it yet.

“We have a wide variety of soil types on the farm and have sown species such as plantain and chicory in our in our grass mixes on lighter land for grazing and have included high levels of red clover in mixes used in heavy clay soils which is used for both cutting for silage and finishing lambs.”

The meeting, which will begin at Seabord Memorial Hall, East Street, Balintore, Tain, IV20 1UA at 10:15am before moving onto a practical farm visit at Fearn Farm that 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 multi-species 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 grass.

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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