Listen to Sara explain why she is so passionate about the role of grass in farming during a radio interview for Tasmanian Country Hour.
(Sara’s interview is about 20 minutes into the programme – after the shale oil and gas story.)
On 963 ABC Hobart and ABC Northern Tasmania. The Country Hour with Tony Briscoe.
There’s a saying that it’s always greener on the other side of the fence. We’re talking about grass. Something, it’s argued, we take for granted. No so for a group of scientists and farmers from around the world, who are visiting Australia this week for an international congress dedicated to grasslands. Sally Dakis caught up with some of them when they visited Tasmanian farms last week on their way to the congress:
“I’m Sara Gregson and I am from England, Cambridge in England. I am completely passionate about grass so I write all my articles – I think I totted-up, I’ve written 110,000 words all on the value of grass and how to manage it since January, so yes, that’s what I do.”
“What is it that fascinates you about grass?” asks Sally Dakis.
“I think it’s just a plant that we could not live without, and it’s not just on the farming side, production side, I mean there’s a landscape and amenity value as well and for sport and landscape and parks but in particular on the farming side. In the UK it’s our national crop, it’s our natural crop and yet farmers actually are a bit slow to actually utilise it and grow as much as they could and utilise it as much as they could.
“Grass is not an easy crop to manage, you know. It’s got this seed head that wants to reproduce and it’s a seriously difficult crop to manage. Some of our farmers have lost the knowledge on how to do that and also the confidence to do it well. And also that’s one of the reasons why I am here; I’m speaking at the International Grasslands Congress in Sydney next week and I’ve put together a mentoring programme where experienced grassland farmers are going out and helping other farmers who aren’t quite so confident and going around their farms and giving them suggestions about how they could manage their grassland better and reduce their costs.”
“So, as a journalist, what trends are you seeing emerging in the whole debate, I mean are we seeing more research? You said that people are probably overlooking it to some degree? Is that changing?” asks Sally Dakis.
“I think there is a bit of movement now. In fact I am involved in something called the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association and that is very much encouraging beef and sheep producers to rear and finish their beef and cattle, purely off grass or red clover grass silages, not having any grain in at all. Once we have got enough suppliers actually doing that, then we can start promoting it to the public – and we know that there is latent demand – the public want pasture-fed meat, but at the moment we haven’t got enough supply to meet that demand.”