Shropshire Star

Farmers urged to rethink their cattle grazing plans

Shropshire farmers are being encouraged to rethink their cattle grazing plans this spring to maximise herd profit margins and reduce the need for costly inputs.

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Karl Williams

Results from the three-year Better Grazing project, run by FAI Farms and McDonald’s UK & Ireland, show beef farmers who invested in improving their grassland and grazing management benefitted from lower input costs, as well as improved cattle growth rates.

Karl Williams, director at FAI Farms, says the successful results of the project are evidence that improving grazing systems can pay dividends for beef producers.

“The four beef farmers involved in the Better Grazing project were able to increase annual pasture production by as much as 72 per cent by simplifying their grazing systems,” he says.

“Fewer groups of cattle were grazed, meaning more paddocks and fields were available for grazing with improved rest periods between each one, leading to increased pasture growth.”

As a result, the four farmers involved were able to increase daily liveweight gains in their cattle by up to 43 per cent, as well as reducing purchased feed by as much as 100 per cent and synthetic fertiliser by up to 69 per cent.

The project results also show that the new electric fencing and water troughs required for the new grazing method offered an average return on investment of between 136 per cent and 315 per cent.

As part of the Rural Payments Agency’s (RPA) Farming Investment Fund, farmers in England can apply for a grant to put towards a package of electric fencing equipment - an essential starting point to implement a paddock-based grazing plan as used in this project.

"For farmers looking to invest in better grassland management, the new government funding available can definitely help with getting started on this journey,” says Mr Williams.

“The benefits seen by each of the beef farmers involved in the project prove that purchasing this equipment is a worthwhile investment in the long run.”

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