Grass vs cake

Talking sheep here. It's been a largely accepted doctrine that grass is good and cake is bad. I've always thought this is over simplistic because the cost of grass should include rent field maintenance etc.

However ignoring that, with fertilizer at £700 to £800 per ton the cost of producing grass has shot up so 100% grass produced lambs are not going to be as cheap to produce after all.

Is it time to question what the"experts" tell us and accept that feeding cake as a supplement to grass is not heresy and will probably be more cost effective this year. It also means that it is more cost effective to feed lambs that are going to be worth £3 per Kg than rather than £2.50 given they have the same conversion rate, although I expect the better lambs will convert better.

Lakes Nash

Mixed Farmer
South lakes
There is grass and there is grass, there’s farms and there’s farms, then there sheep and there’s sheep,
Probably even more importantly, there’s grassland management and there’s set stocking.

Tin hat on.
Neilo so true! When I started on The farm I was told a sheeps worst enemy was another sheep, a lot of it is in the leys too!

Humble Village Farmer

BASE UK Member
The fertiliser cost of the cake is going to be a consideration in the next couple of years. If wheat stays at these levels cake is going to be even more expensive.

Grass still grows without chemical fertiliser. We never use any, it doesn't run out of steam after a few weeks like when the fert runs out and you feel you have to give it another dose.

Bury the Trash

Mixed Farmer
'Free' N can be got from clover types but p and k ultimately other basics will deplete relative to what amount is removed and need topping up as it goes of in the animals there's alot of P (and Calcium ) in bones ,simply.
Thats the facts of farming im afraid.

and if you are a livestock producing grass /forage growing only farm ......buying in and Feeding concentrate actually is adding fertiliser as well dont forget.


Mixed Farmer
Even on grazing ground, you need to replace the nutrient offtake, or you will be steadily depleting reserves. This place was set stocked for years before I arrived, with no fert inputs at all on the grassland. P&K indices were 0 or 1, across the board, pH was 5.1-5.4 and grass was all old twitch and buttercups. That won't grow or finish stock.

Now, after liming & feeding it some, and reseeding where I can, I can grow lambs as well on some fields as well as they do on ad-lib pellets in a shed. Unfortunately I don't have enough of those acres though, and still have plenty of sh*te that I can't improve.

Even with a tripling of fert costs, grazed grass is still a fraction of the cost per kg of DM of bought in concentrates, which are also climbing in cost of course.

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