How to…

In this section you can find step-by-step information on how to carry out timely tasks associated with grassland management.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Use alternative forage crops

At the recent European Grassland Federation (EGF), Dr Christina Marley of IBERS championed the use of alternative forage crops such as red clover, lucerne, kale, chicory and birdsfoot trefoil. Grown and fed well, these crops can improve livestock performance, nitrogen use efficiency and animal health. Homegrown feeds can also reduce reliance on bought-in concentrate feeds,…

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Assess soil structure

As soils become less dry at the end of the summer, it is a good time to assess their structure. And if any problems are found, they can be tackled straight away. Using aerators or sward lifters in the autumn also means the soil and roots have the winter to recover before the high demands…

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Prepare a winter feed budget

Preparing a winter feed budget is essential for any grass or forage-based livestock farming system. It allows decisions to made early, before shortages of feed occur, and provides a plan to help manage pasture throughout the winter. It is a relatively simple calculation based on the number of animals, their weight and predicted feed intakes,…

Friday, 15 August 2014

Allow suckler cows to gain condition

At this time of year, spring-calving cows should be in-calf and producing less milk, as their calves graze more. This will allow them to gain body condition easily, which they can then ‘lose’ again during winter, reducing their need for supplementary feeding. For spring calving cows and calves, the sward heights for the next few months…

Friday, 15 August 2014

Keep grass quality high to finish lambs

Grazed grass is good for finishing lambs, but needs careful management to maintain sward quality and achieve target animal performance. Be aware that weaned lambs can readily eat into pasture reserves kept for flushing and over-wintering ewes. If this goes on for too long, it could adversely affect ewe performance in the next breeding season…