Farming & Food
Grass provides the perfect diet for cattle and sheep. It is all they need to produce nutritious, healthy meat for people to cook and eat.
But grass can be tricky to manage. Its one aim in life is to grow, produce a seed head and then die. Only skilled grassland farmers can manage it to produce high quality animal food throughout the year – grazed out in the fields or given as conserved winter-feed, either dried as hay or pickled as silage.
The people I write about in these blogs are some of the best and most innovative farmers and chefs in the world. They look after their soils, their land and their animals and take great care to source and prepare the best meat possible. We should be proud of them all.
Keeping 880 cows on a grass-based system and milking them once a day, is far more enjoyable and makes more money, than having half the number of cows and milking them three, or even two times a day. So says Gavin Green – and he should know.
Imagine if all plants of the Gramineae (or Poaceae) family in the world turned brown, rotted and died, falling victim to a virus that scientists failed to curb. No wheat, barley, rice or maize, no grass for grazing so no cattle or sheep – just potatoes, vegetables and fish left to feed a global population. No lawns, parks, football pitches, verges – well not as we know them now.
I was excited to be invited to the UK debut screening of Steak [R]evolution in London last week. This follows the search of documentary film director Franck Ribière and famous French butcher Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec, for the best steak in the world.
My grass year in pictures! I have seen some amazing grass this year – on farms, in gardens, in the countryside and in one of the temples of British sport! Here is a snapshot of some of these wonderful grassy places and events…
What a terrific grass-growing season it has been in the UK – the mild, wet winter and early spring brought fast and furious growth that was challenging to manage. Very different from last year when it seemed there would never be enough to graze or cut. Over recent weeks I have visited some inspiring farms – which have highlighted the opportunities grass offers farmers operating at both ends of the production spectrum.
How encouraging to see grassland farming feature so prominently in three articles in a recent issue of Farmers Weekly (20 December). They were in a section dedicated to sustainable livestock production. Sheep on just grass Northumberland sheep farmer Duncan Nellis is...