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.
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...
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.) Tasmanian Country Hour for Monday 16...
It takes a brave man to sow half his cropping area down to herbal leys all in one go.
But Tim May, managing director of the 1,000ha Kingsclere Estate, has done just that – in the firm belief this is the economically and environmentally sustainable path his business needs to take.
Tim, the fourth generation of his family to run farming operations on the open rolling North Hampshire downs, is turning to grass and livestock, sheep for now, cattle later, to improve the depth and nutrient content of his ground. Very alkaline chalky soils are locking up valuable nutrients the arable crops cannot access, leading to declining yields.
When I was in NZ six years ago – I saw a T-shirt that proclaimed that ‘The grass grows greener in New Zealand’ – something I think farmers in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and the western half of England might dispute! However, flicking through my photos from my recent visit there does show how much grass dominates the landscape and why it drives the country’s economy. Here is a gallery of gorgeous grasses from my travels: