Project number: 74602
Lead contractor: Charlie Morgan, Consultant / Various
Start & end date: 01 March 2009 onwards
Improving grazing management is a key focus for EBLEX activity in 2009 and 2010. The key messages are soil management, grass growth, utilisation and the role of analysis. An important part of planning grazing and extra forage requirements is to monitor and record how much grass is growing. The messages will include how to convert grass growth into kg of DM per hectare (cover) and how to use this information. In 2009, a network of beef and sheep producers will be used to test methods and to help develop messages. The aim in 2010 would be to involve agricultural colleges to develop the messages further.
- To work with a network of colleges to collect information on grass growth and quality
- To publicise the data gathered by a dedicated website and regular articles
- To collect regular comments from a network of producers on their current grazing issues; these blogs will be available on the website
- For colleges to act as centres of excellence for monitoring grazing, and to host events for local producers
- To produce regional grass growth curves for typical beef and sheep pastures
Ten agricultural colleges and interested beef and sheep producers throughout England will be recruited. A plate meter and grazing exclusion cages will be provided to allow them to measure grass growth. The plate meter will be used, and material cut, weighed and analysed from the exclusion cages every two weeks. The data collected will be used to look at regional grass growth curves and how forage quality changes over time.
The information collected from the colleges and producers will be documented on a designated website, which will also link into EBLEX’s wider activity on grassland management. It will also be used by the students as part of their projects, and by individual producers to help develop their grazing management. It will be also used at other events and in articles to publicise the value of grazing management. It will help to evaluate whether techniques developed in the dairy sector can be applied to the beef and sheep sector.