NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Conservation grazing  (Read 285 times)

Twotwo

  • Joined Aug 2015
Conservation grazing
« on: November 23, 2019, 08:20:23 pm »
We can graze a field taken for conservation hay, from August to March. But we cannot feed hay not made from this field, ( I’m perfectly happy with this and comply) we don’t have access to the hay, so cannot feed hay. This fine for the in lamb ewes as they come home Christmas time. But I would like to use it for my shearlings and possibly the rams “at the back end of the winter “ There is a reasonable amount of grass cover but if I fed sugar beet and possibly grass nuts (along with an energy bucket) would that give them enough roughage/nutrition. I have used eclectic fencing and the field is rotated.
Voss Electric Fence

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: Conservation grazing
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2019, 09:55:47 am »
Your non pregnant sheep can do perfectly well on just the grass all winter provided there is plenty and it keeps growing , the beet pulp or bucket will provide energy  . I assume that you cannot use hay from another field so that you don't introduce grass seeds from modern more dominant grasses , while the grass nuts should be made from leaf you cannot guarantee that there may not be seeds in the mix , the same goes for buckets some have cereals  in the mix which may be whole . all seeds tend to go straight through a sheep and out onto the ground . Farmers have traditionally purchased hay from good grass areas to be fed on the ground , in a different place every day to cattle and sheep so that seeds are spread over all the ground to improve grazing .

Twotwo

  • Joined Aug 2015
Re: Conservation grazing
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2019, 02:51:20 pm »
Thanks, last year I put my shearlings on on it but there wasn’t enough nutrition. I will contact the contractor and find out if they are ok with a) grass nuts b) feed block and c) the hay I use that only comes from 1/2 mile away and is an old but improved laye.
Interesting what you say about grass seeds from good hay, we often forget about the old ways things were improved, after all the field is surrounded by good old grass land. I will put that to them !

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Conservation grazing
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2019, 09:44:39 pm »
If you can’t buy the hay off the field, I imagine they are using it to seed other fields with a hay meadow flora.  So the last thing they want is for it to be “improved” by modern grass seeds! 

If it’s a hay meadow for conserving old flower species, then frankly they will not want you putting anything extra into the sheep that you graze there.  Increased inputs mean increased outputs, and they will expressly not want fertilisers, natural or otherwise, on there.

So graze it August to the end of October, take the sheep off when the grass hasn’t enough nutrition in it for them, and bring them back for a month in spring if the spring grass comes early enough. Anything else isn’t conservation grazing, it’s farming ;p
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

 

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