Shelter and rotational grazing

toquark

Member
I’m about to launch a small rotational grazing trial this year.

Everything's set up and ready to roll, the only concern I have is the lack of shelter in some of the paddocks. The field is relatively flat and uniform (why it was chosen). Wouldn’t be an issue on days like today but when it’s 2 degrees and sideways rain I can see ewes and particularly lambs getting pretty fed up, usually on days like that they’ll find a sheltered corner behind a dyke or under a tree.

Does anyone have any work arounds or am I over thinking it and they’ll be fine? Running mainly pure Easycare ewes with a few Lleyns too, all from good hardy hill stock and I make a point of not pampering them too much despite our relatively modest numbers.
 

unlacedgecko

Member
Livestock Farmer
I’m about to launch a small rotational grazing trial this year.

Everything's set up and ready to roll, the only concern I have is the lack of shelter in some of the paddocks. The field is relatively flat and uniform (why it was chosen). Wouldn’t be an issue on days like today but when it’s 2 degrees and sideways rain I can see ewes and particularly lambs getting pretty fed up, usually on days like that they’ll find a sheltered corner behind a dyke or under a tree.

Does anyone have any work arounds or am I over thinking it and they’ll be fine? Running mainly pure Easycare ewes with a few Lleyns too, all from good hardy hill stock and I make a point of not pampering them too much despite our relatively modest numbers.
Lines of bales.
 

Samcowman

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Wiltshire
Be flexible there’s plenty of options. If it’s due to chuck it down you could always skip a paddock with no shelter and then go back to it or shut them into a half day paddock and give them 2 shifts.
I only do cattle but the best result I had last year on a day when it was torrential was just giving them 2 shifts in a day. There was a bit of surface mud but nothing to worry about.
 

unlacedgecko

Member
Livestock Farmer
The lambs will get lee side of mum and be fine, they been doing this longer than we have. Someone said on here that if you put artificial shelter out they cram round it and end up a mud bath and mis-mothered.
I'd agree. However, apparently the powers that be appear to be taking note of shelter when inspecting stock. Could become an issue for winter cropping etc
 

delilah

Member
I'd agree. However, apparently the powers that be appear to be taking note of shelter when inspecting stock. Could become an issue for winter cropping etc
lets just hope the architects of ELMS aren't on here, am sure they will be looking for yet more conditions to add.
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Won’t be starting until after lambing, but thinking about how it will work long term.
The lambs would normally be several weeks old before you move from set stocking to rotational grazing, and into the (warmer) grass growing season, so there won’t be as much need for shelter.
Very young lambs, when it’s still cold & wet, obviously do.
 

toquark

Member
Thanks folks. The lambs won’t be going into the rotation for another 3 weeks or so to give the grass a chance to get going.

I’m thinking I’ll play it by ear a little, depending on the weather. If it’s looking really rough, I’ll move them to a more sheltered spot, some of the paddocks are up against a belt of conifers which provide decent shelter, Im thinking I might keep one aside as a bit of a fallback in case of bad days.

Thanks for the advice!
 

Anymulewilldo

Member
Livestock Farmer
I'd agree. However, apparently the powers that be appear to be taking note of shelter when inspecting stock. Could become an issue for winter cropping etc
Had an animal health visit the other week regarding starving sheep in a field with 3 x 1/2 tonne Hogg hoppers. The only thing he mentioned was I shouldn’t have a couple of bale trailers and a muck spreader parked up next too the hedge. I took him over and pointed out the lovely dry sheltered lying between the trailer chassis and the hedge! He went off happy enough then! But it just shows how they are looking at fresh things!
 
Thanks folks. The lambs won’t be going into the rotation for another 3 weeks or so to give the grass a chance to get going.

I’m thinking I’ll play it by ear a little, depending on the weather. If it’s looking really rough, I’ll move them to a more sheltered spot, some of the paddocks are up against a belt of conifers which provide decent shelter, Im thinking I might keep one aside as a bit of a fallback in case of bad days.

Thanks for the advice!
I remember seeing a photo of tractor rear tyres cut in half, into two "C's" being used as shelter. The shelter issue is why I don't dock the ewes tails too.
 
Had an animal health visit the other week regarding starving sheep in a field with 3 x 1/2 tonne Hogg hoppers. The only thing he mentioned was I shouldn’t have a couple of bale trailers and a muck spreader parked up next too the hedge. I took him over and pointed out the lovely dry sheltered lying between the trailer chassis and the hedge! He went off happy enough then! But it just shows how they are looking at fresh things!
I am sure I read in rules somewhere, if anything is left for over a year, it is classed as dumped and abandoned!
 

Jmorrow

Member
Livestock Farmer
We have been roationally grazing for several years now lambs intially graze silage fields set stcked then at 4 to 2 weeks old they move to rotaionally grazing but in smaller mobs that are then joined up
For example the 1st 120 doubles will go into 4 mobs of 30 on silage field then into 2 mobs of 60 for the 1st 2 moves on rotation then into one mob of 120 on 3rd move.
Seems to work well they need time to learn in smaller groups especialy if using electrified polywire.
The ewes are stocked 8-10 ewes per acre and the rotation varies on grass growth and demand but aim for moving paddocks every 2 to 4 days.
Tried larger mobs and move daily but had to much problems with cocci, worms and scald.
We have fields marched by rivers with no shelter from hedges etc and never had any problems with 4 week old lambs and its not that nice of weather in march here in NI.
 
This shelter issue is yet another barrier that someone who knows little or nothing about livestock wants to put in place. We run sheep and cattle on open marshland where there are few in any trees or much else apart from a ditch bank and an occasional patch of rushes. It has been the same for hundreds of years and the stock thrive.
If they are going to stop you keeping stock without shelter for them then there won't be any meat coming here from many other countries in the world!
Sheep originated in desert regions of the world where there are very few trees. Some breeds of cattle are specially adapted to survive on open grasslands.
 

egbert

Member
I’m about to launch a small rotational grazing trial this year.

Everything's set up and ready to roll, the only concern I have is the lack of shelter in some of the paddocks. The field is relatively flat and uniform (why it was chosen). Wouldn’t be an issue on days like today but when it’s 2 degrees and sideways rain I can see ewes and particularly lambs getting pretty fed up, usually on days like that they’ll find a sheltered corner behind a dyke or under a tree.

Does anyone have any work arounds or am I over thinking it and they’ll be fine? Running mainly pure Easycare ewes with a few Lleyns too, all from good hardy hill stock and I make a point of not pampering them too much despite our relatively modest numbers.
how about a grid of earth banks - possibly stone faced- across your farm at , say 200 pace intervals, with hazel and thorn bushes along the tops?:unsure:
 

AHDB winding down horticulture and potatoes operations as Ministerial decision awaited

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AHDB has announced yesterday it is winding down significant activities on behalf of the horticulture and potatoes sectors.

While still awaiting a decision on the future by Ministers in England, Scotland and Wales, AHDB wants to reassure levy payers their views have been heard following recent ballots in the two sectors.

AHDB is now stopping programmes of work that could be restarted in the future by grower associations, individual growers or the supply chain. This work includes for example, export market access and promotional international trade event work, consumer marketing campaigns and market pricing and insight information. AHDB will continue to deliver limited emergency work on pests and diseases, including the Extension of Authorisation for Minor Use (EAMU)’s and some...
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