18 September 2018
Recent MasterGrass attendee Dafydd Jones from Llys Dinmael, Maerdy has set about changes to his home farms ewe flock grazing strategy by installing and implementing a rotational grazing system which includes splitting fields and piping water to parts of his farm which was previously set stocked. Indeed Dafydd was so inspired by the three day workshop at Glynllifon that the evening after the final day he went about calculating possible paddock sizes and feed allocation on his computer.
Dafydd said “I was always interested in growing more grass and using the latest lays but MasterGrass motivated me and gave me the confidence to what was possible with well managed soils and effective grazing”.
In the following weeks Dafydd borrowed a plate meter to measure a hurdled off section of his field to see how his farms growth rates compared to farms on the Welsh Pasture Project. Using the potential growth rate from his initial experiment he created an excel worksheet to calculate possible feed allocation, stocking rate and round length based on the knowledge gained during MasterGrass.
Currently 320 ewes are grazed on a 14 Ha grazing platform that is split into ten 2-3 day paddocks using a combination of temporary and permanent fencing. A specialized three wire reel system is used to speed up fence setting and pulling down, allowing one man to move large mobs of sheep to fresh pastures quickly and easily. Dafydd aims for a target pre graze cover of 2700kgDM/Ha and a residual of 1500kgDM/Ha. Where there is surplus grass, paddocks will be cut for silage.
Dafydd explains that one of the key aspects of planning is access to water and moving sheep between paddocks “Some fields were small enough as they were and had access to water already, but Investing in equipment and infrastructure was needed on larger fields, I have spent £45/Ha to set it up, however I hope to keep more stock on less ground and explore other options on land now freed up, especially with Brexit round the corner”.