NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Grazing Sheep  (Read 2331 times)

kimy

  • Joined Aug 2010
Grazing Sheep
« on: February 05, 2011, 08:31:00 am »
I am hoping for good advice please?

We manage a flock of sheep on someone Else's land. The flock was purchased by our friend in October. He has 14 hectares of land which for several years he has made available to a dairy farmer and he no immediate plans to terminate the farmers use of the grazing.

We are currently grazing 47 adult Suffolk Sheep on land that from the spring will also be grazed by the dairy cattle.

We currently have 10 lambs, and by the end of March new born lambs will increase our flock numbers to combined 100 adults and lambs.

Of that 14 hectares ......... will be made available for two cuts of hay this year

I understand the 1 hectare ratio of grazing for 5 -7 adult sheep.

My concern is that with our ultimate number of 90 sheep grazing, there will not be sufficient grazing for the flock if they are following on behind the cows (followers).

Ultimately the flock will consist 100 ewes and 150sh lambs within two years.

It is our view that the farmer needs to move on? Since we cannot find any specific information on the net to clarify mixed use of grazing so that the sheep grazing will not be compromised. any

Direction or information from anyone with experience of raising livestock this way is much appreciated.

Thank you!

Kimy
Voss Electric Fence

woollyval

  • Joined Feb 2008
  • Near Bodmin, Cornwall
    • Val Grainger
Re: Grazing Sheep
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2011, 11:22:55 am »
You have 34 acres between a potential of 100 large adult sheep over winter which is about 3 and a half sheep which is ok. However you will need to lay up some land for hay/haylage from January to get a good cut and know how the grass crops and how much you will need to not have to buy in...which is v expensive at the moment.
With lambs and rotating fields and resting, therefore cutting down on the imputs from wormers, hard feed etc which all cost money you have just about enough for the sheep. However the cattle will eat lots of the grass and make it unviable to run healthy sheep with out high inputs which will ultimately reduce your profit.
It depends on a lot of things...
How intensive do you intend to be i.e are you going to push the land to its limits, How much time do you have, how much feed do you want to buy in, Do you want to finish your lambs on grass quickly or have to feed them, Do you have buildings....there is a lot to consider however and others will have their opinions. At the end of the day though profits, sheep, humans and importantly the land will have to cope and a low input higher output system is actually more profitable and sane that a potential high input high output system that has a lot more scope to go pear shaped!

Tell him the cows have to go...but he can run a few heifers for a few weeks if sheep numbers are down. Sheep and cattle complement each other but dairy cattle require more in way of nutrition than sheep.... if you had fewer sheep and allowed 1 beef cow to the acre for the summer you could do it but you need to be in control of both species to keep the balance right...
www.smallholdinginsomerset.blogspot.com
www.valgrainger.co.uk

Overall winner of the Devon Environmental Business Awards 2009

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: Grazing Sheep
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2011, 01:01:52 pm »
I would presume that the dairy farmer made full use of the grazing in past years is he happy to share and lose some grass when ground is closed for hay.One dairy heifer depending on age will eat the same as 3or4 big ewes,i dont see how its going to work. You havent said how good the ground is old/new grass ,dry or wet winter,burns in summer ,fertile/poor soil PH all affect stocking. Fertilizer or none sorry more questions than answers.

VSS

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Pen Llyn
    • Viable Self Sufficiency.co.uk
Re: Grazing Sheep
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2011, 06:11:40 pm »
Dairy chaps generally like the grass quite long before the cows go on to it, and then move them on quite quickly. They will leave behind plenty of grass for sheep that graze much closer to the ground.
The SHEEP Book for Smallholders
Available from the Good Life Press

www.viableselfsufficiency.co.uk

woollyval

  • Joined Feb 2008
  • Near Bodmin, Cornwall
    • Val Grainger
Re: Grazing Sheep
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2011, 07:19:03 pm »
Dairy chaps generally like the grass quite long before the cows go on to it, and then move them on quite quickly. They will leave behind plenty of grass for sheep that graze much closer to the ground.

Too true...but around here they also like it to be heavily fertilised and single species :D
www.smallholdinginsomerset.blogspot.com
www.valgrainger.co.uk

Overall winner of the Devon Environmental Business Awards 2009

 

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