"Improving Our Lot" - Planned Holistic Grazing, for starters..

Sharpy

Member
Livestock Farmer
Chicken and egg? The more you spend preparing seedbeds, the less gripe you'll have spending big dough on little bags of seed, because as a fraction it is "less expensive"

likewise, after you spend hundreds on preparations, break crops so the "pests" that normally control your weed seeds don't eat the grass seeds.... you need good results. And it all hinges on timely rainfall 🤷‍♂️

One great thing about tough times (whether economic, climatic, or other) is that they really show these shiny-shoed 'experts' off for what they really are - people who work in sales, like the rest of us
It's the same as "you must spray off the old sward ". If the new sward is as good as the salesmen say it will outcompete the old sward. (which would have benefited greatly from 2 ton of lime and 2 cwt of fert an acre)
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
For our veal calves its pretty comparable to previous years (1,2kgs/day on average from birth to 4/5 months) But i think there are a few caveats.

Multispecies pastures so that there is a decent amount of something green.

Grazing deep to have a large amount of legumes.

Grazing deep to have a good leaf to stem ratio.

Full bellies! (i have found the timing of this hard, but i am getting the hang of it now).

frequent moves, for better appetite and better rumen function.
Yes, it boils back to "energy flow" doesn't it?

You get this great energy flow with high harvest efficiencies but the caveat is you could then send more out the gate (more mining?) as with any biological system improvements.

For people cutting out fertiliser but still smacking out high volumes of commodity meat/milk then perhaps the taller, stemmier feed is maybe safer from a system POV?? because it reduces the ability to extract as much from the hectare, if nothing with a pulse will eat half of what grows
 

Henarar

Member
Livestock Farmer
It's the same as "you must spray off the old sward ". If the new sward is as good as the salesmen say it will outcompete the old sward. (which would have benefited greatly from 2 ton of lime and 2 cwt of fert an acre)
I won't do that because when the new stuff or part of it starts to die out I want enough of the old to fill the gap,
Never sprayed off a field here before reeseeding
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
It's the same as "you must spray off the old sward ". If the new sward is as good as the salesmen say it will outcompete the old sward. (which would have benefited greatly from 2 ton of lime and 2 cwt of fert an acre)
Exactly - if that money and, most importantly, care was put into the old "weed grass" as the new grass, it would be new old grass every time a mob went into it. And that's basically where we want to be.

That's why we needed to be "conservation grazers" for a while and now we need to be more regenerative graziers - the old grass is good for filler, but we can't afford to farm animals that make enough money living on filler grass
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
how long before we end back up, with 'proper pp', not sure it will go that far, but we need to get a sward that gives even production, throughout the grazing season, we know clover comes into it's own, as grass growth declines, what other alternatives, can we use/choose.
Salesmen, totally rely on getting us, to part with our money, if they don't, they loose their job. Exactly the same thing happens, in factories, research centres, seed houses, and perhaps the most obvious one, cattle breeding, and AI, if that has been as good as they claim, cows would be averaging 15,000 litres by now, after 60 years of better bulls, they don't, in fact many herds are producing the same yields as 40 yrs ago. The number 1 aim of a salesman, is to get us, to trust them, and then screw you over, it's how they make their living. It's not about who has the biggest yield, it's about who has spent the least, to get there.
Rather a lot of dairy disposals on the books, the majority of them, have spent large amounts of money, in upgrading their facilities, and finding labour to run them, or, cannot make them pay, for the investments made, and salesmen, at each, and every step, from bank manager to builder, talked them into doing it, and for certain, more money was made, by the salesmen, than the farmer.
 

Jonny B88

Member
Location
ballykelly. NI
Depends what the tall grass actually is - I'm not "being smart" but a lot of tall-grass grazing on the interweb is rubbish for youngstock or lactating cattle.

There's tall leaf grass and tall stem grass

Tall leafy grass (because you grazed it down to nubs and left it for weeks) is pretty reasonable, we've had mobs avg'ing 2.6kg/day.

Tall stemmy grass, maybe you top out at 1.3 or so, depends on the cattle and how the stemmy bit actually is, they do better on standing hay than standing tough-stuff

As you get higher stocking rates it levels out because the animals have the horsepower to maintain their feed properly, most of the struggle is getting things aligned so that you can achieve the higher stocking rates to maintain the quality, then getting some gone to maintain the big wedge they push in front of themselves
I would consider 1.3kgs/hd/day to be a good average!
 

Crofter64

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Quebec, Canada
sorting out dry cows last night, one very obvious fact, is becoming evident, dry or young stock, do better on old grass, than new grass. Our dairy, which grazes nothing over 4 yrs old, is rather 'loose' to say the least, and it is showing up, especially in the hfrs, although milk production is ok. So two different out comes, which some would say, should be the other way round. One easy obvious solution, is too feed hay/straw, which, although we don't want to, we will have to, and we have plenty of that ! We have 150big bales arriving now, which will be made from old pasture, or conservation acres, and will be ideal.
Going back to production, we have tried to leave longer residuals, and have, thinking cattle can utilise that bit of fibre, in the longer stem. That hasn't gone to plan, you have to graze much tighter, to get them to eat it, then you loose the advantages of the longer residual idea, pre-cutting, when we really lost the plan, wasn't really ideal, production dropped. The only constant theme, between both swards, is the fact that prg, has an insane desire to run to head, at every opportunity, that could also be said about chicory, at the moment.
Don't really know the answer, constant topping, is one, plus that keeps the weeds down, and stops prg heading, or, we keep reducing the amount of prg, in the mixes, concentrating on the latest heading varieties, which means you lose early growth, always say, farming is a balance, just need to find it !
Been putting a few handfulls of chicory seed, in the fert spreader, as we use it, certainly grows easy, sprouting up all over the place, makes you wonder about carefully prepared seed beds !
I’ve Just been listening to this podcast
The farmer runs a 100% grassfed organic dairy. He talks about his forages. He has different fields with different grasses growing in them, some straight lucerne, and he grazes them in different sequences based on how each of the grasses is performing because of weather or season.. He has some mixes but he says that with his approach you can always get the plants at their optimum nutritional value for feeding and then they can bounce back quickly, whereas in a large mix you wouldbe hitting some at optimum and some too early, affecting regrowth.
He might be right in his case , as he is dealing with the same issues as you- keeping up the milk,but for other kinds of grazers Using managed grazing ,diversity of species is inevitable, even desirable. Stuff just keeps showing up and feeds well.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
Just started the second go this year at this field this morning. I'm really pleased with the regrowth from the rest and how little has headed. Seeing some red clover, chicory and even Birdsfoot Trefoil appearing here now despite never seeding this field. Clearly the cattle are bringing it in.
20210730_094703.jpg


Nature has even started our silvopasture for us with this little oak seedling:

20210730_094734.jpg


EDIT: Just looked it up and it was 93 days ago they came off this cell..... :oops:
 
Last edited:

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
our hay delivery today, turned out to be, mainly timothy, contaminated with rye grass. We had 6m headlands of pure timothy stands, grown for race horses, as some prg in those headland, which is unacceptable to the end users! It smells fantastic, put 2 bales out for cows, won't be any left tomorrow, as long as it slows them up, it will be worth it. Even better, son found some cheap used, 10x4x2 water troughs on e'bay, along with some very heavy (old) 15 ft yard gates, and a few other bits, they arrived, on the drag, of the first load of hay, troughs worked out at £66 each x15, and the gates at £70 x15, all in all a very good day, except we had to conjure up a lot of cash, and they were genuine sellers, family farm fallout, pity.
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
I’ve Just been listening to this podcast
The farmer runs a 100% grassfed organic dairy. He talks about his forages. He has different fields with different grasses growing in them, some straight lucerne, and he grazes them in different sequences based on how each of the grasses is performing because of weather or season.. He has some mixes but he says that with his approach you can always get the plants at their optimum nutritional value for feeding and then they can bounce back quickly, whereas in a large mix you wouldbe hitting some at optimum and some too early, affecting regrowth.
He might be right in his case , as he is dealing with the same issues as you- keeping up the milk,but for other kinds of grazers Using managed grazing ,diversity of species is inevitable, even desirable. Stuff just keeps showing up and feeds well.
read something similar, growing a different crop, for each month, we wouldn't have the available acreage, to do that, and we need a mountain of winter fodder, idea was good, and he made it work, not really for our climate, and to much reseeding, and very definitely more plant types, to choose from, which we don't have here.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
how long before we end back up, with 'proper pp', not sure it will go that far, but we need to get a sward that gives even production, throughout the grazing season, we know clover comes into it's own, as grass growth declines, what other alternatives, can we use/choose.
Salesmen, totally rely on getting us, to part with our money, if they don't, they loose their job. Exactly the same thing happens, in factories, research centres, seed houses, and perhaps the most obvious one, cattle breeding, and AI, if that has been as good as they claim, cows would be averaging 15,000 litres by now, after 60 years of better bulls, they don't, in fact many herds are producing the same yields as 40 yrs ago. The number 1 aim of a salesman, is to get us, to trust them, and then screw you over, it's how they make their living. It's not about who has the biggest yield, it's about who has spent the least, to get there.
Rather a lot of dairy disposals on the books, the majority of them, have spent large amounts of money, in upgrading their facilities, and finding labour to run them, or, cannot make them pay, for the investments made, and salesmen, at each, and every step, from bank manager to builder, talked them into doing it, and for certain, more money was made, by the salesmen, than the farmer.
It depends what you're shopping for, same as with your livestock improvement / genetics? 🤔

If you breed herds for longevity then you'll soon get it, just as if you plant persistent plants instead of falling for "increased production"

usually if I hear the phrase "increase production" I realise there's a trap (or gimmick, when you see games as games, it's probably the more accurate term to use, all games have gimmicks)

The sales business is a game, tugs at our "obvious" weakness: fear of going broke, but hiding the obviously ballshet phrase "gotta spend money to make money" in plain sight.

It's only implied, because it is really so false that including it would attract attention to the game at play?
"We're wanting you to spend your money with us, and because we know the cards you're holding aren't that great, if you just produced a little bit more then the cards will smile on you" as if lack of production was the problem.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer

Top bloke, is Walter

“ACRES U.S.A. How effective is water vapor at absorbing heat?

JEHNE. Water vapor is uniquely powerful at absorbing heat. Due to the way its two hydrogen atoms bond to its oxygen atom, 1 gram of water can absorb 590 calories of heat energy. That’s massively more heat per molecule than most other things can absorb. For example, a CO2 molecule — one carbon and two oxygens with two double bonds — can only absorb about an eighth of the heat per molecule that a water molecule can. And a water molecule weighs only one-third as much as a CO2 molecule. So the power of water vapor to absorb and transfer heat is 20 times higher than that of CO2, molecule per molecule. And by weight, there are 40,000 ppm of water vapor in the air compared to 400 ppm of CO2. There is no question about the power of water vapor. CO2 is not even in the contest as far as moving heat in the atmosphere.”

@Abi Kay
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member

Top bloke, is Walter

“ACRES U.S.A. How effective is water vapor at absorbing heat?

JEHNE. Water vapor is uniquely powerful at absorbing heat. Due to the way its two hydrogen atoms bond to its oxygen atom, 1 gram of water can absorb 590 calories of heat energy. That’s massively more heat per molecule than most other things can absorb. For example, a CO2 molecule — one carbon and two oxygens with two double bonds — can only absorb about an eighth of the heat per molecule that a water molecule can. And a water molecule weighs only one-third as much as a CO2 molecule. So the power of water vapor to absorb and transfer heat is 20 times higher than that of CO2, molecule per molecule. And by weight, there are 40,000 ppm of water vapor in the air compared to 400 ppm of CO2. There is no question about the power of water vapor. CO2 is not even in the contest as far as moving heat in the atmosphere.”

@Abi Kay
Just thinking about it, does that mean CO² is a better insulator?
 

Henarar

Member
Livestock Farmer
Just started the second go this year at this field this morning. I'm really pleased with the regrowth from the rest and how little has headed. Seeing some red clover, chicory and even Birdsfoot Trefoil appearing here now despite never seeding this field. Clearly the cattle are bringing it in.
View attachment 976955

Nature has even started our silvopasture for us with this little oak seedling:

View attachment 976956

EDIT: Just looked it up and it was 93 days ago they came off this cell..... :oops:
Good stuff
Build it and they will come
If we dug up all the oaks around the farm this year we would have enough to re plant Neroche Forrest.
We have put a few in pots
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Just thinking about it, does that mean CO² is a better insulator?
Depends on context, but yes. You'd use a CO² extinguisher on an electrical fire!?
Water is like a battery, even though chemically "inert" it can store a lot of energy, and most all the world's problems and solutions revolve around the H²O molecules as a result of this

We don't really need "Carbon Trading" so long as we drain water out of our landscapes as quickly as possible, create reflective and/ or hydrophobic landscapes

I thought it linked in with @crashbox's query about tall-grass grazing rather well, that is to say landscaping needs to be about more than liveweight gains or Carbon capture - we need to manage water firstly and the other pieces fall into place

Right now we're practically swimming and so the tall grass simply gets in the way of solar radiation; but as soon as spring comes we need to think about water, how we bank that away?

How do we redesign the grazing to be less dependant on in-the-next-rotation rainfall?

More cover is one thing, but it needs to be leafy or you just trade one limiting factor for another in some cases
 

bendigeidfran

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Cei newydd
Just started the second go this year at this field this morning. I'm really pleased with the regrowth from the rest and how little has headed. Seeing some red clover, chicory and even Birdsfoot Trefoil appearing here now despite never seeding this field. Clearly the cattle are bringing it in.
View attachment 976955

Nature has even started our silvopasture for us with this little oak seedling:

View attachment 976956

EDIT: Just looked it up and it was 93 days ago they came off this cell..... :oops:
Here is my little corner of the farm that has a bit of silvopasture
20210801_165708.jpg
20210801_165716.jpg
20210801_165756.jpg
20210801_170010.jpg

Been topping the rushes around the trees today, as you can see the ash has had dieback prety bad, iv'e left them standing for the woodpecker.
Two of the twelve have died and the rest are sick, think i will plant some more trees on this piece.
It is wetter than it looks, been stuck there
A few times.
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
-took a long time to get used to a landscape without the elms, we did though, but it's quite shocking, looking at old photo's, and realise just how many trees, there used to be, if we lose the ash, and is there something affecting oaks, as well ? The landscape will look very different, it might be interesting to see what type of tree, they recommend for the new 'forests', wouldn't mind betting the list includes ash, and oak.
Reckon we have had enough rain now, a nice dry autumn, would be the icing on the cake. Our cows are seriously loose, so put some nice hay, out for them, they haven't really touched it, ungrateful things, but it's there if they want it, under cover, and next to the rock salt.
We put mineral, or forage booster tubs, out for dry cows, hfrs, and year 1 calves, this is the year, of least utilisation of them, by the stock, and l really don't know why, rock salt, goes. Perhaps the difference is simply down to the fact, they are now on old pasture.
The other big difference here, only 10 acres to reseed, plus overseeding some r clover, in a silage ley, to try and increase protien levels. We are seeing a difference, in the newest leys, where prg, is not so plentiful, they are not running to seed, some of that, is time of year, but it's clearly pointing us away from prg dominant grazing leys. In the cutting leys, there is still a place for rye grasses, you can control the heading !
 

Crofter64

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Quebec, Canada
-took a long time to get used to a landscape without the elms, we did though, but it's quite shocking, looking at old photo's, and realise just how many trees, there used to be, if we lose the ash, and is there something affecting oaks, as well ? The landscape will look very different, it might be interesting to see what type of tree, they recommend for the new 'forests', wouldn't mind betting the list includes ash, and oak.
Reckon we have had enough rain now, a nice dry autumn, would be the icing on the cake. Our cows are seriously loose, so put some nice hay, out for them, they haven't really touched it, ungrateful things, but it's there if they want it, under cover, and next to the rock salt.
We put mineral, or forage booster tubs, out for dry cows, hfrs, and year 1 calves, this is the year, of least utilisation of them, by the stock, and l really don't know why, rock salt, goes. Perhaps the difference is simply down to the fact, they are now on old pasture.
The other big difference here, only 10 acres to reseed, plus overseeding some r clover, in a silage ley, to try and increase protien levels. We are seeing a difference, in the newest leys, where prg, is not so plentiful, they are not running to seed, some of that, is time of year, but it's clearly pointing us away from prg dominant grazing leys. In the cutting leys, there is still a place for rye grasses, you can control the heading !
Our elms are dying also and the ash is threatened by emerald ash borer. The borer hasn’t reached our area yet but each year it gets closer. The ash are the summer cooling system for our house, and as a result, no matter how hot outside it is bearable indoors.
I am planting, or allow self seeded, ash and elm to grow wherever I find them in the hope that one proves resistant to its threats and then produces seed. It’s a long shot but if we don’t keep them around how will we find the survivors?
 
Out of interest, what's everyone's stocking rate? Not stock density. For example we are farming around 70 acres and have 42 animals, 25 fully grown and the others of various ages. Slightly top heavy as we are trying to expand the breeding herd and there's a lot of maidens in there.
Our stock density in the main herd of 35 has been between 17 and 200 ton/ha.
Interested as it helps me work out what we should get to in order to keep a steady supply of winter feed standing in front of them come winter.
I realize that some of you destock at certain times, so please give your highest and lowest numbers as a guide.
😊
 

Speculative coverage on the gene editing consultation response

  • 57
  • 0
Speculative coverage on the gene editing consultation response

Written by Defra Press Office

image-of-a-field-620x413.jpg


There has been coverage today in the I and the Guardian, reporting on speculation around the upcoming government response to the recent Gene Editing consultation, which closed on 17th March.

A full government response, which will include a thorough analysis and summary of the responses to the consultation and which will set out our next steps, will be published in due course.

Gene editing has the ability to harness the genetic resources that mother nature has provided, such as breeding...
Top