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.
At a recent workshop run by the Advanced Training Partnership (ATP), which is currently delivering postgraduate distance learning for people working in the agri-food industry (www.atp-pasture.org.uk), Dr Iwan Owen of IBERS gave a great précis of UK grassland farming.
Well done to the UK’s Pasture-Fed Livestock Association for getting everything in place (on the tightest of budgets) to allow producers who feed only grass and conserved forage, to market their meat under the new PASTORAL brand.
Northern Ireland beef producer Sam Chesney is riding high as last year’s Farmers Weekly Beef Farmer of the Year, and making it to the final of the British Grassland Society’s National Grassland Management Competition this year.
But, as 160 farmers heard at a recent Ulster Grassland Society farm walk, he is always looking for ways to improve still further.
This year’s British Grassland Society Summer Meeting was a cracker – with visits to eight farms managed by inspirational farmers making the most of the natural resources around them – sunshine (not so much this year), rainfall and land that grows good grass.
Happy 65th birthday to the Stockman Grass Farmer – the quarterly newspaper edited and published by grazing guru Allan Nation out of Ridgeland, Mississippi in the USA.
Allan also has several books to his name including…
A world-leading research facility that will mimic on-farm scenarios was launched in sweltering heat in Devon last week.
The North Wyke Farm Platform – part of Rothamsted Research and funded to the tune of £3.6million by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), will bring scientists from across the world to the UK to work on grassland.
Large amounts of data will be generated to help identify practices which are productive and economic for farmers, but that have the least negative environmental impact