Launch of Better Grazing programme

Charley Walker will speak at the first meeting.
Charley Walker will speak at the first meeting.

Livestock farmers in Aberdeenshire are invited to attend the launch meeting of the new Better Grazing Programme next month.

The new grazing project, one of six launched this month by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) around Scotland, aims to help farmers in Aberdeenshire identify opportunities to improve productivity through better utilisation of grass. It follows the very successful QMS Grazing Group project which came to an end in March this year.

As part of the programme, there will be four meetings held in and around Inverurie each year, for the next three years. Those attending the meetings will hear from expert speakers as well as farmers from around Scotland who will share their experiences of how they have improved their grassland management and the benefits they have seen.

There will also be the opportunity to visit farms of those who have already made changes to their grazing management or to new group members keen to make better use of their grass with the help and support of the rest of the group.

The first meeting of the Inverurie Better Grazing programme will be held at the Thainstone Centre on Thursday, August 10.

The event, which is free to attend will begin at 10.45am and will introduce some of the concepts of grazing management that will be covered over the three years of the programme.

The meeting will also hear from Charley Walker who farms at Barnside Farm, near Duns. The 250-hectare unit operates both a clean grazing and rotational grazing system and runs 840 Easy Care ewes and 84 Welsh Black cows, which are put to Aberdeen-Angus bulls.

Mr Walker was full of praise for the previous Grazing Group programme. He said: “Being a part of a QMS Grazing Group has been instrumental in us lifting our output by 48 per cent and our stocking rate by 30 per cent over the course of the project. The Grazing Groups didn’t just give us the knowledge and skills to put theory into practice, it gave us the confidence to give it a go and was also a lot of fun.

The topics to be covered over the course of the new Better Grazing programme include: grazing strategies; wintering systems; fencing and watering options; how to extend the grazing system; soil management; the control of internal parasites and ruminant nutrition.

Emily Grant, QMS Knowledge Transfer Specialist, encouraged farmers keen to improve their output from grass to get involved.

She said: “The Better Grazing programme provides a great opportunity for livestock farmers not only to discover how changes in grazing management can impact on their bottom line, but also to consider changes relevant to their own current grazing regime to benefit their business.

“Farmers involved with the original QMS Grazing Group project have shown that making changes to their grazing has led to an increase in their farms profitability, not only through reduced costs but also by increasing output.”

Places at the launch meeting at the Thainstone Centre are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. For more information about this meeting and to reserve your place, please contact QMS on 0131 472 4040 or email info@qmscotland.co.uk by Monday, August 7.