Beef and Sheep, Improving performance from grass

Some people will talk about cutting costs, others will talk about ‘being more efficient’. I believe that the latter is a better route to maintaining or increasing margins in an ever challenging environment.
I’m a big believer in the power of grass as a primary forage crop, not just in silage but as grazed fresh grass.

Utilising fresh grass can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it, but it should be a tool used by all farmers, not just the dairy sector. There are arguments for applying a rotational grazing system to anything that produces milk i.e. dairy cows, lactating ewes and suckler cows. It doesn’t end there, with fresh grass providing up to 22% crude protein and 11.5 ME, any growing animal will thrive on this diet.

Here are some principle points to consider, after that make it as complicated as you want.

  • Consider your type of grasses (is it time for a reseed??)
  • Measure grass growth (plate meter or sward stick)
  • Plan grazing rotation (this will change thought the year, work out a grazing wedge)
  • Vary stocking rate according to grass growth (more grass can hold more stock)
  • Keep on top of the grass (even if it means getting the mower out)
  • You don’t have to split everything off into paddocks (working out field sizes and shutting gates is good enough)

Benefits of rotational grazing

  • See the stock everyday and spend time watching them (spotting lameness in animal etc)
  • Stock are constantly on good quality young grass (increase milk yield/ daily live weight gain)
  • Increase production per Ha (managed grass yields greater levels of kg DM/Ha)
  • Able to keep more stock per Ha (increased output for Milk/Beef/Lamb)
  • Increase soil condition (with root decomposition feeding organic matter levels in the soil)
  • Improve profitability


We will be running CMC Inspire Meeting Promoting profitability on Beef and Sheep farms in the South West with a specific focus on grazing and grassland management.

16th September: Trebursye farm, Trebursye, Nr Launceston PL15 7ES.
With kind permission of Kevin and Jackie Daniels

17th September: PennyCombe farm, Kenn, Exeter, EX6 7XF.
With kind permission of Richard Berry

Gareth Davies Nuffield scholar and Grassland consultant. Discussing Grassland management and its application in the Beef and Sheep Sector
Germinal Seeds (looking at grass seed selection and over seeding)
Dennis Brinicombe minerals (to focus on mineral requirements for Beef and Sheep)

These meetings are targeting Beef and Sheep farmers, to promote profitability from on farm resources and guiding the use of bought in feeds and supplements.
Please contact Jenny in the office or me to register your interest.

Joe Banks
Somerset Feed Specialist
07885 367440