Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Feasting on Forage

Following on from last years grassland meeting, organised with Salisbury's and AB Sustain we planted 8 small areas of the farm that are coming out of arable cropping under the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme.  In total 18 Ha's have been planted with specific grassland mixes to complement the permanent pasture that covers the bulk of the grassland area.  This mix has really taken off and ideally the sheep should have been grazing it a while ago (they've never seen so much grass) but we had trouble with water and no permanent fencing, (in the program for capital works in 2013).  We applied 50Kg of nitrogen in March and it has really taken off.  The mixture is based on high sugar grasses with varieties such as Aberfarrell, Aberavon and Rodrigo.  In addition to these perennial rye grasses I have included some cocksfoot and timothy for good ground cover and to help fill the late bite,  there is also some Aberherald, which is a small leaved clover which if we're lucky should be able to provide some of the nitrogen needed by the grass.  
The are currently 100 ewes and lambs on this 2.5Ha area so it won't last them long, but we have sorted out their next move and so should be able to move them across the fields fairly quickly to get on top of this first flush of grass. If they can't keep on top of the grass we can always shut some up and conserve it for silage.

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