Cut or graze AB8 (Flower Rich Margins & Plots)...?

deeplume

Member
Mixed Farmer
Looking at using AB8 for some fairly big chunks of field on my next Stewardship. Do you cut or graze yours? Does anyone make hay from it? I've got cows to graze it with, so thinking that might be the easier / cheaper option but be good to have baling as a back up plan. Fairly happy that the cows would eat it as it's probably better than what's out on our rough grazing anyway.

Any thoughts on best seed suppliers and / or mixes that are more suited to grazing also gratefully received. The prices seem to vary wildly.

Thanks in advance.
 

Banana Bar

Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Bury St Edmunds
Looking at using AB8 for some fairly big chunks of field on my next Stewardship. Do you cut or graze yours? Does anyone make hay from it? I've got cows to graze it with, so thinking that might be the easier / cheaper option but be good to have baling as a back up plan. Fairly happy that the cows would eat it as it's probably better than what's out on our rough grazing anyway.

Any thoughts on best seed suppliers and / or mixes that are more suited to grazing also gratefully received. The prices seem to vary wildly.

Thanks in advance.

We have 100 ha of AB8 that has been in for 3 years. As yet we have not made hay or haylage from it. Thistles have been very abundant up to now. We may cut some of the cleaner areas this year. I will pm you on supplier.

BB
 

Gordy1

Member
Looking at using AB8 for some fairly big chunks of field on my next Stewardship. Do you cut or graze yours? Does anyone make hay from it? I've got cows to graze it with, so thinking that might be the easier / cheaper option but be good to have baling as a back up plan. Fairly happy that the cows would eat it as it's probably better than what's out on our rough grazing anyway.

Any thoughts on best seed suppliers and / or mixes that are more suited to grazing also gratefully received. The prices seem to vary wildly.

Thanks in advance.
. Have you tried Boston Seeds
 

Grass And Grain

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Yorks
Just got email back from RPA to say I can use white clover in AB1 mix, so fair bit of white clover, red clover and Lucerne in the mix. Should cut and bale OK?

Edit. Sorry just realised thread is for AB8. you'd have to check what you can sow.
 

Hindsight

Member
Location
Lincolnshire
I’ve got some AB8 and to be honest if I had my time again I’d opt for AB1 instead having seen other people’s. You live and learn

Why B'o'B. I am putting together a couple of small Arable Offers at moment where could select either AB1 or AB8 in some situations. Had plumped for AB1 as can rotate if need be in future. And not needed to harvest the grass mixture, as can for AB8. So can you elaborate where and why you elected AB8 and now why AB1 would be the better land use option. Many thanks in advance. J
 

B'o'B

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Rutland
Why B'o'B. I am putting together a couple of small Arable Offers at moment where could select either AB1 or AB8 in some situations. Had plumped for AB1 as can rotate if need be in future. And not needed to harvest the grass mixture, as can for AB8. So can you elaborate where and why you elected AB8 and now why AB1 would be the better land use option. Many thanks in advance. J
I guess it’s early days really for my AB8, it was only established mid September last year. But other people’s AB1 just seems to have established much better, looks better.
As my AB8 has not yet been in for 12 months it’s still getting topped pretty hard in the hope to give the flowers a chance and it may yet surprise me next year, but my impression is that the establishment and management of AB1 is easier and the visual effect is much more impressive.
 

deeplume

Member
Mixed Farmer
AB1 certainly looks a lot nicer in the photos, but we won't be rotating with anything else during the Stewardship so thought AB8 might make more sense. That, and I imagine it's more appropriate for grazing (albeit in the limited window, but I'll have lots of GS4 on other areas). Was also thinking that AB1 might need to be re-established at some point during a 5 year period, which would make it less viable (compared to just keeping it in cereals). I spoke to Cotswold Seeds about the AB8 mix (theirs is notably v expensive though!) and they said it probably wouldn't start looking good till year 2.

I guess it’s early days really for my AB8, it was only established mid September last year. But other people’s AB1 just seems to have established much better, looks better.
As my AB8 has not yet been in for 12 months it’s still getting topped pretty hard in the hope to give the flowers a chance and it may yet surprise me next year, but my impression is that the establishment and management of AB1 is easier and the visual effect is much more impressive.

Kinda torn though. Do any of you / do you know anyone who grazes AB1? I would have thought it'd be more nutritious than AB8 and the legumes will probably be happier to establish without any grass competing.
 

Hindsight

Member
Location
Lincolnshire
I guess it’s early days really for my AB8, it was only established mid September last year. But other people’s AB1 just seems to have established much better, looks better.
As my AB8 has not yet been in for 12 months it’s still getting topped pretty hard in the hope to give the flowers a chance and it may yet surprise me next year, but my impression is that the establishment and management of AB1 is easier and the visual effect is much more impressive.

Thank you for that response. I understand. Interesting approach.

I applaud you are genuinely concerned how the area of AB1 or AB8 performs and goodness gracious looks! I am solely concerned whether it will pass an RPA inspection. The aesthetics and performance are secondary to me. I just have to make sure the clients where I assist with a Mid Tier application do not cock up the management prescription and it passes an inspection in the five year period if an inspection arises. More difficult that you might imagine with some farmers who do not read or truly understand (or wish to) the management prescription and will turn to their adviser if a penalty on inspection and say 'your fault, sort it'. The advisers perennial fear with all these Defra schemes is the wooliness of the management prescriptions and the 'you can get away with this, that and the other' gathered from internet forums!

Cheers.
 

EddAke

Member
Mixed Farmer
We get a lot out of AB1 and AB8.

AB1 you have to mow half the plot area in the spring - I guess to extend the flowering period - we do this when silage making and put it in the clamp as it’s full of clovers, trefoil and Sainfoin. The clear up cut has to be made after 15 Sept - if this is a “second cut” it makes reasonable hay for suckler cows - we try and feed this to the cows out on permanent pasture to spread the seed from the hay onto our pp - this does work to some extent. If it’s the first cut it’s pretty dead and old - we offer it to the dry suckler cows when in and they pick it over and we scrap it up and bed up with the rest.

AB8 you can mow after 15 Aug and makes very reasonable hay for dry suckler cows if you get the weather - we have a little and our neighbour has 90 acres of it! He’s happy for us to tidy it up for him so we pretty much feed our suckler cows all winter on it. They are Stabilisers so are very good do-ers on average forage but I think they like the variety of grasses, legumes and herbs.

Have grazed AB1 in the past where the margins fall in fields down to herbal/ryegrass ley - they love it even if it’s old and can overgraze the margin and leave the ryegrass if you aren’t careful! Think mowing is easier to manage.

AB8 gets better with time - yield drops but quality improves as the legacy of fertilising depletes - the forage doesn’t looks so old on the 15 August as the years go by - and the wild oats, etc disappear.

There’s a lot of benefits to be had from AB1/8 for mixed farms - even before you get into beneficial predictor insects, etc. We will be looking to add more when renewing our CSS if the scheme is similar at that time.
 

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