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

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
and we used to think RB209 restricted fert use, by far to much, we wouldn't be able to get the yields we need, just like the NVZ rules, didn't think we would be able to keep to them, and produce enough to keep going.
Well, survive we did, as no doubt many other farmers have, and begun to realise fert is not quite so important as we once did. Or is it a freak year ? For many, who could not afford, or get, fert this year, could be a good thing, if they have found the same growth, as we have.
There is a place for fert, P and K, fixes problems, and N is still a worth while tool, to promote early growth, and arable crops, but not deemed crucial, in use, and amount.
 

Walwyn

Member
Location
West Wales
20220522_152236.jpg

Fences set for next couple of days, serious amount of feed, perhaps should be cutting it. As a proportion of total biomass what would others aim to harvest? The third rules or as much as possible without compromising gut fill? These will be R2 heifers, to be bred in 3 weeks.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
As much as possible, as quickly as they can eat it.

The thing is I guess we come from a different background to a cow - we have mowers, science, experts, and bank accounts

cows just have an environment with food in it

how you put them at it is your business but how would you feed a family?
Make them a new meal when they had eaten ⅓ of the last meal, or when they had finished it and digested it?

Personally I had to see what happens with the lax frequent grazing because "that's regenerative grazing" - apparently

it is just a slightly worse version of what I called 'normal rotational grazing' in my experience with it over a couple of years, in that you get worse quality faster and run out of grub faster - just like if you fed a family that way, your fortnight's groceries are gone in 5 days for no real or valid reason
 

Walwyn

Member
Location
West Wales
As much as possible, as quickly as they can eat it.

The thing is I guess we come from a different background to a cow - we have mowers, science, experts, and bank accounts

cows just have an environment with food in it

how you put them at it is your business but how would you feed a family?
Make them a new meal when they had eaten ⅓ of the last meal, or when they had finished it and digested it?

Personally I had to see what happens with the lax frequent grazing because "that's regenerative grazing" - apparently

it is just a slightly worse version of what I called 'normal rotational grazing' in my experience with it over a couple of years, in that you get worse quality faster and run out of grub faster - just like if you fed a family that way, your fortnight's groceries are gone in 5 days for no real or valid reason
Coming to same conclusions as your self as we've experimented last couple years. Diverse mixes really do have a blaze of growth if given long enough recovery. The laxer grazing definitely doesn't work in ryegrass dominant paddocks, as you said just losing quality even sooner than "normal" rotational grazing. Where these heifers are moving from is predominantly PRG with oversown clovers and herbs, we've slowed their progress as its got stronger ahead of them, I reckon probably harvesting approx 4000kg/ ha. I've assumed 5000 as a starting point in this paddock but going to cut and weight a quadrant or 2 to satisfy my curiosity, as it probably more. Allows for more time for recovery, than flying through only harvesting 12-1500. Just balancing it against quality is the conundrum in my mindset currently.
Heifers are relaxed at moving time twice a day, dung been a bit loose but think that's just the PRG.
 

Jonny B88

Member
Location
ballykelly. NI
Coming to same conclusions as your self as we've experimented last couple years. Diverse mixes really do have a blaze of growth if given long enough recovery. The laxer grazing definitely doesn't work in ryegrass dominant paddocks, as you said just losing quality even sooner than "normal" rotational grazing. Where these heifers are moving from is predominantly PRG with oversown clovers and herbs, we've slowed their progress as its got stronger ahead of them, I reckon probably harvesting approx 4000kg/ ha. I've assumed 5000 as a starting point in this paddock but going to cut and weight a quadrant or 2 to satisfy my curiosity, as it probably more. Allows for more time for recovery, than flying through only harvesting 12-1500. Just balancing it against quality is the conundrum in my mindset currently.
Heifers are relaxed at moving time twice a day, dung been a bit loose but think that's just the PRG.
A little hard to tell from the angle of the pic but I would have thought 6000 is maybe a more likely starting point? Thats a serious bulk if stuff! Also I’m starting to think loose dung in the spring is what it is irregardless of whats there, they seem to be that way and perhaps it is the prg!!??
 

Jonny B88

Member
Location
ballykelly. NI
47CD7A02-FECD-47D0-A7D3-31F76A30812E.jpeg
7F9C7FE5-AE7D-491A-B002-0A30F8F34FD5.jpeg

Also has a lot to do with animals, these two pats were 4ft from each other in the same paddock. What makes one digest better than another? Does one eat more fibre than the other? Could these two animals then produce faeces later on that are the complete opposite because they change their eating habit to suit? Or is the animal thats lose generally unhealthier? So many variables
 

crashbox

Member
Livestock Farmer
A little hard to tell from the angle of the pic but I would have thought 6000 is maybe a more likely starting point? Thats a serious bulk if stuff! Also I’m starting to think loose dung in the spring is what it is irregardless of whats there, they seem to be that way and perhaps it is the prg!!??
6tDM/ha at 25% DM would be almost 10 tonnes fresh grass per acre, that would be a serious grass cut. Remember they'll sh*t, p*ss and lie on a lot of it.
I would say it's doing well for the cattle to actually consume about half that, as they will trample a lot in.
Which I don't have a problem with, what's not food for cattle will be food for the soil if stocking rate high enough.

Just my two cents.
 

crashbox

Member
Livestock Farmer
What's rb209?
AHDB nutrient management guide.

Free to access, we are legally obliged to follow it (or, at least not exceed it) if apply organic or inorganic fertilisers.


It's a bit lacking in the legumes department, gives the smallest bit of info on red and white clovers.

Shows how far away from maximising their potential the UK Ag sector is.
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
6tDM/ha at 25% DM would be almost 10 tonnes fresh grass per acre, that would be a serious grass cut. Remember they'll sh*t, p*ss and lie on a lot of it.
I would say it's doing well for the cattle to actually consume about half that, as they will trample a lot in.
Which I don't have a problem with, what's not food for cattle will be food for the soil if stocking rate high enough.

Just my two cents.
told son today, looking at the 'mess' the cows have left behind, 1/3 eaten, 1/3 left, and 1/3 trampled in, not sure he was over impressed. Not much 'to long' grass for them left, then back to normal stuff.

rb209, is a default set of values of excreta from all types of stock, and how much N we can use in example cases. Went off it a bit, when RT inspector, said they didn't use those figures, ########. Used to think it was a bit 'out', not so sure now, @crashbox may be right, it may be us, that are out.
shock today, our mr fert neighbour, is sowing crimson clover, into aftermaths, that is a real surprise.
 
Last edited:

crashbox

Member
Livestock Farmer
AHDB nutrient management guide.

Free to access, we are legally obliged to follow it (or, at least not exceed it) if apply organic or inorganic fertilisers.


It's a bit lacking in the legumes department, gives the smallest bit of info on red and white clovers.

Shows how far away from maximising their potential the UK Ag sector is.
For example, gives you formulas to calculate max permissible applications of slurry, manure and artificial NPK you can apply to different crops.
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
For example, gives you formulas to calculate max permissible applications of slurry, manure and artificial NPK you can apply to different crops.
having worked out the total, you then do some creative figures, to make sure you haven't over used, in any one field, very important, when you have a jobsworth EA twit pestering you.
not actually sure he knew anything about it, BUT he had the book, and that was gospel.
 

cows sh#t me to tears

Member
Livestock Farmer
Coming to same conclusions as your self as we've experimented last couple years. Diverse mixes really do have a blaze of growth if given long enough recovery. The laxer grazing definitely doesn't work in ryegrass dominant paddocks, as you said just losing quality even sooner than "normal" rotational grazing. Where these heifers are moving from is predominantly PRG with oversown clovers and herbs, we've slowed their progress as its got stronger ahead of them, I reckon probably harvesting approx 4000kg/ ha. I've assumed 5000 as a starting point in this paddock but going to cut and weight a quadrant or 2 to satisfy my curiosity, as it probably more. Allows for more time for recovery, than flying through only harvesting 12-1500. Just balancing it against quality is the conundrum in my mindset currently.
Heifers are relaxed at moving time twice a day, dung been a bit loose but think that's just the PRG.
Just throwing it out there. But longer more mature grass, would it not mean it has more time and energy to whack down more root mass. Meaning it's a bit more resilient to unfavorable weather??
 

Jonny B88

Member
Location
ballykelly. NI
6tDM/ha at 25% DM would be almost 10 tonnes fresh grass per acre, that would be a serious grass cut. Remember they'll sh*t, p*ss and lie on a lot of it.
I would say it's doing well for the cattle to actually consume about half that, as they will trample a lot in.
Which I don't have a problem with, what's not food for cattle will be food for the soil if stocking rate high enough.

Just my two cents.
Sorry i meant there may be about 6000dm/ha before grazing, yes i agree they will not harvest all of that. I was out plate metering yesterday and was hitting over 5000 with it and seemed less than the picture above. Although how accurate the platemeter is can be debated.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
View attachment 1038063View attachment 1038064
Also has a lot to do with animals, these two pats were 4ft from each other in the same paddock. What makes one digest better than another? Does one eat more fibre than the other? Could these two animals then produce faeces later on that are the complete opposite because they change their eating habit to suit? Or is the animal thats lose generally unhealthier? So many variables
I think the differing poo is really just "where in the animal it is"

say they have a poo made from the very first gobfuls of grass, it will be a juicy loosey like your top picture - but when they are working and eating fibrous stuff their poo is better

you could explain that other ways (eg protein levels) but it all kinda means the same thing. I've noticed the same thing even out on the long-rest systems
20220524_122439.jpg

Part of it will be how well the animal is adapted to their feed as well, this cow always eats the drier browner feed first which is why she's so fat, she knows fatty food comes from plants with fat roots
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
Coming to same conclusions as your self as we've experimented last couple years. Diverse mixes really do have a blaze of growth if given long enough recovery. The laxer grazing definitely doesn't work in ryegrass dominant paddocks, as you said just losing quality even sooner than "normal" rotational grazing. Where these heifers are moving from is predominantly PRG with oversown clovers and herbs, we've slowed their progress as its got stronger ahead of them, I reckon probably harvesting approx 4000kg/ ha. I've assumed 5000 as a starting point in this paddock but going to cut and weight a quadrant or 2 to satisfy my curiosity, as it probably more. Allows for more time for recovery, than flying through only harvesting 12-1500. Just balancing it against quality is the conundrum in my mindset currently.
Heifers are relaxed at moving time twice a day, dung been a bit loose but think that's just the PRG.
rye grasses are a valuable fodder, high quality, and quantity.
But, its always the r/grasses that cause problems, in our rotational grazing, recovery period.
Currently finishing a field, of 2 types of grass, which l have mentioned before, a dry grass mix, and a 'proper' prg mix, a long thin field, with a dry and, very fertile half.
Cows give the final opinion, the dry half, is grazed as tight, as they can, the prg half, is well trampled in, and its bloody annoying.
You can see the difference, in the 2 types, prg has responded to ideal conditions, and had a massive growth spurt, its a mowing stage. The dry mix, is not so thick and lush, made up of other grasses, as well as prg, its much finer, some going to seed, herbs etc, cows demolish it, right down to tight.
We tried to feed the prg off first, with a long feeding 'face' behind elec fence, cows went straight through that, the only time this year, they have gone through a fence. So one can assume, which they preferred.

We have a number of acres in of dry mixes, now, so starting to see a pattern of cow response, there is no doubt about the fact, they like them, they graze them 'properly', and while there doesn't appear to be so much there, as prg, having cut some, for silage this year, they are not far behind the prg, and the grazing 'window' is much longer, than prg.
Rye grasses have their place, high quality/quantity silage, is their ideal. And for bulk standard grazing, they have a their place. On dryer farms, like ours, they are great, when the weather is right, they work. Are they sustainable in the longer term ? Yes, they are, when everything is going correctly, or, predictable, its when things are not going so well, they can let you down.

But, when things don't go, as per normal, they become unreliable, they are difficult to manage/control. Variety of plants, in a simple herbal mix, are very obviously appreciated by stock, and are grazable for longer.
And that sums up, the choices we have, we know what rye grass leys are capable of, been using them for decades, we don't know what diverse leys will do, they are 'new', and that is the problem. There is simply to much to risk, on a 'unknown'.

We really don't know what a diverse ley, will do, for grass growth, quality, animal health, and even fert use, we only have the 'recent' results from those that have changed 'over'. That isn't to say, 'they don't work', the response of many, being cautious, their use will 'creep' up, as time passes. To me, they look right, l would love to see a dairy farm, where only d/leys are present, both for grazing, and silage/hay, to see the results, would it be a healthier herd, of higher yielding profitable cows, or a herd of lower yielding cows. And, to see fert/spray use, those are important figures, because for many, it would be a halfway house, between the two systems.
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
I think the differing poo is really just "where in the animal it is"

say they have a poo made from the very first gobfuls of grass, it will be a juicy loosey like your top picture - but when they are working and eating fibrous stuff their poo is better

you could explain that other ways (eg protein levels) but it all kinda means the same thing. I've noticed the same thing even out on the long-rest systemsView attachment 1038154
Part of it will be how well the animal is adapted to their feed as well, this cow always eats the drier browner feed first which is why she's so fat, she knows fatty food comes from plants with fat roots
we may well have to breed cattle that can utilise grass differently to the present ones, actually breeders are doing that already.
We had an interest in a CI herd, on a very dry farm, those cows would strip graze old fashioned grass (pp), at mowing stage, and milk off it.
I would love to turn the clock back, and feed that herd, with the new practices, mob grazing etc, quite certain it would be better production, that herd was bred out to hol, and those cows definitely wouldn't produce of that. Profit wise, there was very little difference between the fr type herd here, and the CI herd, except in calf money, and barren price - very big difference there, and one of the main reasons, of swapping, looking back, l think it was the wrong way, then it was, 'why have you hung on so long' !!!!
 

Henarar

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Somerset
rye grasses are a valuable fodder, high quality, and quantity.
But, its always the r/grasses that cause problems, in our rotational grazing, recovery period.
Currently finishing a field, of 2 types of grass, which l have mentioned before, a dry grass mix, and a 'proper' prg mix, a long thin field, with a dry and, very fertile half.
Cows give the final opinion, the dry half, is grazed as tight, as they can, the prg half, is well trampled in, and its bloody annoying.
You can see the difference, in the 2 types, prg has responded to ideal conditions, and had a massive growth spurt, its a mowing stage. The dry mix, is not so thick and lush, made up of other grasses, as well as prg, its much finer, some going to seed, herbs etc, cows demolish it, right down to tight.
We tried to feed the prg off first, with a long feeding 'face' behind elec fence, cows went straight through that, the only time this year, they have gone through a fence. So one can assume, which they preferred.

We have a number of acres in of dry mixes, now, so starting to see a pattern of cow response, there is no doubt about the fact, they like them, they graze them 'properly', and while there doesn't appear to be so much there, as prg, having cut some, for silage this year, they are not far behind the prg, and the grazing 'window' is much longer, than prg.
Rye grasses have their place, high quality/quantity silage, is their ideal. And for bulk standard grazing, they have a their place. On dryer farms, like ours, they are great, when the weather is right, they work. Are they sustainable in the longer term ? Yes, they are, when everything is going correctly, or, predictable, its when things are not going so well, they can let you down.

But, when things don't go, as per normal, they become unreliable, they are difficult to manage/control. Variety of plants, in a simple herbal mix, are very obviously appreciated by stock, and are grazable for longer.
And that sums up, the choices we have, we know what rye grass leys are capable of, been using them for decades, we don't know what diverse leys will do, they are 'new', and that is the problem. There is simply to much to risk, on a 'unknown'.

We really don't know what a diverse ley, will do, for grass growth, quality, animal health, and even fert use, we only have the 'recent' results from those that have changed 'over'. That isn't to say, 'they don't work', the response of many, being cautious, their use will 'creep' up, as time passes. To me, they look right, l would love to see a dairy farm, where only d/leys are present, both for grazing, and silage/hay, to see the results, would it be a healthier herd, of higher yielding profitable cows, or a herd of lower yielding cows. And, to see fert/spray use, those are important figures, because for many, it would be a halfway house, between the two systems.
what's in what you call a dry mix ?
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
what's in what you call a dry mix ?
simple, less ryegrass !
Suitable festuloliums, cocksfoot, fesques, timothy, and suited rye grass - some varieties are 'drought' resistant, herbs and clover. That is what we have used, next stage, is more varieties of herbs etc.
But, whatever we use, it simply has to produce a sward, that produces milk/beef/lamb, at a profit, and that, is why there is so much debate/ridicule/hostility, to them, they are a recent revival, so results are 'unproven' as yet, risking profit, is a big decision.

The biggest risk of change, is world food production, not that l worry about that, but if the system was widely used, would it produce enough food, to feed the 'world' ? The same question can be asked about organic systems. Would it leave the risk of desertification, or deforestification, or degradation of present farm land ? Its not a simple yes, or no answer.
Sensible, controlled intensive farming, also has a responsible future, it could reduce the danger of the above. Nothing is ever easy, or straight forward, in life.
 

Jonny B88

Member
Location
ballykelly. NI
we may well have to breed cattle that can utilise grass differently to the present ones, actually breeders are doing that already.
We had an interest in a CI herd, on a very dry farm, those cows would strip graze old fashioned grass (pp), at mowing stage, and milk off it.
I would love to turn the clock back, and feed that herd, with the new practices, mob grazing etc, quite certain it would be better production, that herd was bred out to hol, and those cows definitely wouldn't produce of that. Profit wise, there was very little difference between the fr type herd here, and the CI herd, except in calf money, and barren price - very big difference there, and one of the main reasons, of swapping, looking back, l think it was the wrong way, then it was, 'why have you hung on so long' !!!!
CI herd?
 

Make Tax Digital Software Poll

  • Quickbooks

    Votes: 33 16.8%
  • Sage

    Votes: 20 10.2%
  • Xero

    Votes: 89 45.4%
  • Other

    Votes: 54 27.6%

Man fined £300 for bonfire-related waste offences

  • 142
  • 0
Written by William Kellett from Agriland

court-640x360.jpg
A man has pleaded guilty at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court to waste offences relating to a bonfire next to the electrical sub-station on the Circular Road in Newtownards, Co. Down.

Gareth Gill (51) of Abbot’s Walk, Newtownards pleaded guilty to two charges under the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, for which he was fined £150 each and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy

On June 25, 2018, PSNI officers went to Gill’s yard, where they found a large amount of waste consisting of scrap wood, pallets, carpet and underlay.

Discussion with Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) officers confirmed the site...
Top