Know How / Grassland management

In the current challenging climate, all livestock producers are under pressure to maximise the cheapest food source – forage. See the latest thinking on grazing methods, forage systems, reseeding and varieties as well as how others are making more from grass and maize.

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Case studies

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BEEF

How grass in the arable rotation can improve beef production

Incorporating grass in the arable rotation is part of Jeremy Iles’s plan to reduce concentrate feeding to beef animals while mitigating risk and safeguarding soil health. It is an all-encompassing…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How a Northern Irish suckler farmer is reducing costs

Sky-high farm input prices and rising rents have prompted Sam Chesney to re-evaluate his business and take a slight change in tack, in an attempt to improve suckler-cow margins. This…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How floodplain meadows are central to a regenerative system

Floodplain meadows are vital for soil and animal health and the hay they produce is more nutritionally and minerally satisfying than standard feed analysis would suggest. This, is according to…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How planting herbal leys can slash concentrate feeding

Planting legume and herbal leys as part of mid-tier Countryside Stewardship has enabled Wiltshire farmer Jamie Feilden to grow more quality forage and save around £7,000 a year in concentrate.…

BEEF

How a beef farm manages environmentally sensitive grazing

Grazing in an environmentally sensitive way is not new for Farmers Weekly’s 2020 Beef Farmer of the Year, James Waight, who farms 4,400ha (10,868 acres) of some of the highest…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How mixed low-input farming can help grassland biodiversity

Gloucestershire farmer Ian Boyd has turned his intensively farmed arable land into wildflower meadows and introduced herbal leys into the cropping rotation. This has enabled him to tap into environmental…

Practical advice

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GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How to attract dung beetles to your livestock farm

Dung beetle populations in the UK are in trouble, says farmer and entomologist Sally-Ann Spence. These insects play a vital role in livestock systems with dung pat management, soil health…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

7 top tips on establishing herbal leys

Mixed crops, particularly herbal leys, create diversity in root systems that help soil structure, says Kate Still, farming programme delivery manager at the Soil Association. In turn, improved structure benefits…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Four options for finishing spring-born beef calves on grass

Finishing home-bred beef calves can make a valuable contribution to the bottom line of a spring-calving dairy farm where the opportunity exists to implement a grass-based dairy beef system. Finishing…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Farmers warned to check fertiliser ingredients

Farmers are being warned to scrutinise paperwork, supply chains and ingredients carefully before using fertiliser and by-products after it was revealed farmers in the north of England were allegedly sold…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Why you shouldn't feed ensiled ragwort to livestock

Ragwort poses the greatest risk to cattle when it is conserved, either as silage or hay, or when treated with herbicide, because it is readily eaten and has lost none…

YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

Advice on managing lambs after weaning

High levels of lamb performance can be achieved post weaning with good grassland management and targeted feed supplementation, if needed. With the lamb market holding strong, independent sheep specialist Liz…

Insights

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LIVESTOCK

What benefits do trees offer to livestock systems?

Trees offer animals huge benefits, according to Lindsay Whistance, senior livestock researcher at the Organic Research Centre. She sets out the value of silvopasture to livestock systems. See also: Defra…

SHEEP

Experiment shows potential for cell-grazing herbal leys

Cell-grazing promotes greater sward growth and weight of lambs weaned a hectare than continuous grazing. And cell-grazing herbal leys, or multispecies swards, has the potential to outperform less diverse ones.…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Multispecies leys show seasonal advantage in Welsh uplands

Multispecies leys can perform as well as traditional ryegrass in upland regions, a three-year study by the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) Wales has found. Seed mixes incorporating meadow fescue, Timothy…

LIVESTOCK

Farming rules for water: What’s in store?

The farming rules for water regulations (2018) (FRfW) were introduced to create a national baseline for good farm practices. They require land managers to take reasonable precautions to prevent diffuse…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Study reveals how to treat goats more effectively for worms

Taking part in a study into drench resistance has given goat farmers Damian and Meg McNamara the confidence to graze goats by picking up parasite burdens early before they spiral…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

4 things scientists know about how soil affects fertility

Improving organic carbon in soils can improve nutrient uptake and reduce waste. To understand the biology and physics of soil, scientists at Rothamsted Research have been exploring aggregate at microscopic…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How new dairy tech is being used globally by farmers

Two farmers shared their experiences of using some of the latest dairy technology on their farms at a DairyTech grazing webinar (9 February). Find out how the two technologies –…

Maize

FEED AND NUTRITION

How a farmer cut purchased feed costs by growing grain maize

Austin Russell has reduced purchased feed costs by £37,050 annually since including corn cob maize in the herd’s ration. About 73ha (180 acres) of maize is grown annually at Church…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

What are the pros and cons of min-till maize?

There are two types of min-till systems: deeper min-till and shallow min-till. Deeper min-till involves cultivating to a depth of 22.5-25cm using a machine like a subsoiler with a leg…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How undersowing maize with grass can cut N leaching

Nitrogen (N) leaching can be reduced by 61% – the equivalent of 20kg of N/ha – when maize is undersown with grass, a recent trial has demonstrated. Bright Maize, in…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Advice on growing maize under film, plus the costs

Growing maize under film could increase profit margins by more than £3,000/ha by improving the quality of the crop and increasing milk output. Trial sites run by crop production specialist…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How growing maize with beans can improve silage quality

Intercropping of maize and climbing beans is gaining ground among German farmers keen to improve the quality of their silage. Yields and protein content are particularly promising when the two…

FEED AND NUTRITION

5 key ways to optimise maize feeding

Harvesting, clamping and feeding maize correctly can improve winter nutrition and reduce potential health hazards Animal feed expert, Prof Mike Wilkinson of University of Nottingham, offers advice on how to…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Maize Watch: Strong yields as harvest moves fast

The maize harvest is moving fast through the main dairy areas, with growers in the West and the Midlands reporting strong yields. Grainseed technical director Neil Groom says crops have…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Maize Watch: Why you shouldn't leave bare stubble

With maize harvest in full swing in the South and expected to get under way imminently in the Midlands and South West, growers are being advised to plan for the…

AHDB resources

See AHDB resources on rotational grazing

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Video

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GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How to ‘home-test’ grass to know when to cut for silage

When there is late application of fertiliser and slurry to crops, it is vital important to test grass before cutting for silage. Excess nitrogen is a risk in these fields…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Video: Advice on feeding fodder beet to dairy stock

Fodder beet is the largest-yielding fodder crop available and is high in sugar and metabolisable energy (ME), making it a direct replacer for cereal grain. It fits dairy well because…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Video: Silage gas escape sparks health and safety alert

A video on Twitter showing a deadly brown gas escaping from a freshly clamped silage pit has sparked a health and safety warning, after the gas was identified as the…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How growing maize with beans can improve silage quality

Intercropping of maize and climbing beans is gaining ground among German farmers keen to improve the quality of their silage. Yields and protein content are particularly promising when the two…