Grassland walk - Launceston

Grassland Walk:

 

Hosts: Kevin, Jackie and James Daniel at Trebursye Farm, Launceston PL15 7ES

Guests: Crediton Milling, Denis Brinicombe, Agrimin Ltd and GGAS Ltd

 

The day began with very interesting presentation by Garth Davies from GGAS Ltd, about the importance of growing quality grass and the role rotational grazing plays in this.

  

Garth explained to the thirty farmers present that rotational grazing is a process whereby livestock are strategically moved to fresh paddocks to allow vegetation in previously grazed pastures to regenerate.

 

Rotational grazing encourages an even distribution of grazing throughout a paddock, allowing resting periods in between rotations that help maintain the health of forage. This discourages competition from weeds and undesirable plant species that often invade when forage is overgrazed and weakened.  The alternative – continuous grazing – is a more widespread management practice in which livestock are permitted to graze anywhere. 

 

Continuous grazing often leads to overgrazed and under grazed areas throughout a pasture. 

 

Rotational grazing is more efficient and productive because it reduces this waste because livestock are only permitted to feed in paddocks for a limited period of time.  This gives the farmer more control by coordinating the rotation of livestock to paddocks where forage growth is at peak production (high in nutrition and easy to digest). Less wasted forage results in lower costs from not having to supplement livestock diets with purchased concentrates. 

  

Other advantages of rotational grazing and include:

◾Limited soil compaction which encourages root growth and reduces leaching of fertilizers;

◾Reduced soil erosion due to the presence of continuous ground cover throughout the year;

◾Reduced weeds from ample resting periods;

◾Longer grazing season because of shorter forage recovery periods when rotating paddocks;

◾Improved animal productivity;

◾More efficient use of forage compared to continuous grazing; and improved nutrient distribution (manure) since livestock have fixed schedules, each rotation covering a limited area in each paddock.