Fferm Carreg Plas, Aberdaron, Pwllheli, Gwynedd
Focus Site Project: Transitioning from set stocking to a techno grazing system
The main aim of the project is to demonstrate the transition from a set stocking system to a rotational grazing system. The project will promote the benefits involved in making the transition and provide farmers with a blue print which includes the relevant information required to improve their own businesses. This project will highlight all the practical considerations involved, including the division of land and the installation of infrastructure. Grazing management is currently carried out by eye alone and is not supported by actual data collected by regular grass measuring.
High quality grass is the cheapest feed source for UK farmers, however it is often wasted and under-valued. Research has shown that grass utilisation is much higher in rotational grazing systems. Utilisation can be as high as 80%, compared to 50% in a set stocking grazing system (AHDB, 2016). This allows for increased stocking rates which leads to improved production and increased kg of liveweight gain per ha. Improved production inevitably leads to improved profitability. The main aim of the project is to demonstrate the transition from a set stocking system to a rotational grazing system. The project will promote the benefits involved in making the transition and provide farmers with a blue print which includes the relevant information required to improve their own businesses. Carreg Plas was previously managed as an arable farm in the 1960s and as a result the 111ha of land is only split into 7 permanent fields meaning there is great potential to increase the farms grass growth, and utilisation.
What will be done:-
- 26 hectares of improved ground split into 128 cells for 2 groups of 40 suckler cows and calves allocating 3 cells per day in a 30 day rotation.
- Assess the feed requirement of livestock on-farm to determine which livestock class would be most suitable to use in the rotational grazing system.
- Calculation of predicted DM intakes, assessment of labour availability.
- Design of cells to suit intended animals, taking into account: topography, aspect, water, power, and personnel/animal movement.
- Installation of designed system.
- Training for host farmer including: correct, efficient use of permanent/temporary fencing equipment and water systems.
- On-going support to set-up and manage the grazing rotation. The host farmer to take weekly grass measurements with plate meter and James Daniel to visit at critical periods.