Holistic Grassland Management Framework.
The aim of Grassproductivity is a Holistic Grassland Management Framework, centred on Precision Mob Cell Grazing as a viable, profitable, effective, beneficial approach to existing practices. The management framework covers the aspects below:
- Purpose. Through regular discussion, form a holistic purpose to drive the project forward towards its goal.
- Manpower. Communicate with decision makers who need to accept and buy into the holistic framework.
- Goals. Establish present farming practices, where the manager[s] want to be, and how we get there.
- Sustainable Process. The Mob Cell Grazing system plays a major role: Timing, Measuring, Plotting the Growth curve and Pasture Planning are applied to the project.
- Tools for implementing the Sustainable Process. These are: the grassproductivity electronic plate meter; electric fencing which may be mobile and/or part permanent; a watering system, drenches and supplementary ad lib licks. Timing is the controlling rule with Mob Cell Grazing: (1) identifying where the growth is on the ‘S’ curve, (2) delaying access to a cell until the required kgDM/ha has been reached, (3) exiting at a predetermined height. In the spring or early summer, grass growth recovery may take 26 days while in the winter it may take 126 days. Recovery time determines the number of cells, their size and the stocking rate. Ideally, the aim is that each cell is rationed to provide the kgDM to the mob for that 24hr grazing period and moved every 24 hours. This period may be reduced or increased, depending on the management capabilities.
SPARE THE PLOUGH AND SPOIL THE NATURAL PASTURES!
There is a view that if grass productivity declines, the answer is to plough, harrow to a fine seedbed and reseed (costing vast sums of money). Grassproductivity is based on planning and implementation through well-designed, timed, rational grazing management principles: seeing the production increase naturally, and saving large sums of money.
Paddock size and timings have to be tailor-made, and all soil improving has to be regularly monitored and fine-tuned. Signs of improvement will become evident in the pasture as varieties improve, as Grassproductivity principles start to become established. More and more wild clover varieties spring up, normally from zero to 30% of the total natural pasture mix. The wild white clovers can produce natural, free organic nitrogen and other added nutrients anywhere from 80 kg to 120 kg/ha: these results are huge benefits and valuable savings.
There is the continual call for ploughing and reseeding to improve grass
Why plough up existing pastures to improve them?
Ploughing and reseeding does not solve the problem.
What caused them to degenerate in the first place?
Poor management causes quick deterioration of pastures
There is no point in ploughing: crushing and grinding destroys valuable soil structure and indispensable soil micro-organisms.
Ploughing leads to the huge expense of reseeding to re-establish the new pasture.
There is every advantage in understanding of the pasture management system that caused the degeneration in the first place. The grassland management has to be improved to prevent this deterioration and the grassproductivity.com principles provide these valuable guide lines.
PRODUCTIVITY INSPECTION AND REPORT : WE OFFER YOU
1. A Full day on-farm survey, fact finding, including taking photographs,
2. A Full day for the analysis of the data and a customised plan.
3. A Full day to take and post the soil and forage samples including the analyses.
All data is filed to create a GRASS PRODUCTIVITY historical farm profile.
Data is regularly updated to monitor the farms progress and profitability year on year.
By the second year the GRASS PRODUCTIVITY farmer will see an improvement in all aspects of the farming enterprise.
PROJECT CASE STUDY
September 2012. The project was a 45ha grassland sheep farm close to the town of Bellac in central France.
The flock consisted of 160 breeding ewes and 3 rams; all were a mix of mules and Suffolks. At first glance one could see that they were in poor condition. The current lambing rate was one lamb per ewe.
The farm had lost 16 lambs and weaned 144 ; the death rate was probably higher.
Total income Euro: 19215.00
Pasture deficit: 52785 kgDM
Flock’s daily requirement: 352 kgDM
Present daily regrowth: 225 kgDM
Present carrying capacity: 3.5 units/ha Actual carrying capacity under present conditions should be 2.27 units/ha
The pastures in their present state are set stocked and should be supporting a herd of 102 breeding ewes.
By introducing complete Grass Productivity principles the following improvements were achieved:
The herd increased to 315 ewes and their condition vastly improved with lambing rate increasing to 1.6 and the losses greatly reduced and by the time they are weaned, producing a potential income of Euro 61504.00. Gross income increased by Euro 42289.00
The beauty of the improvement through the adoption of a more scientific GRASS PRODUCTIVITY approach combined with well managed disciplined GRASS PRODUCTIVITY principles is not only the added profit but the achievement, sustainability, improved wellbeing of the animals and to own a successful farming enterprise. Surely to increase the gross income on a 45 hectare farm by Euro 42289.00 is worth a shot?
IN 3 YEARS GRASS PRODUCTIVITY AIMS TO PRODUCE MORE FROM THE NATURAL PASTURES THAN THE NEW RESEEDED LEYE PASTURES. THUS AVOID PURCHASING ALL THAT CAPITAL EQUIPMENT AMMOUNTING TO HUGE EXPENDITURES.
GRASS PRODUCTIVITY’s question is, “Why buy a tractor”?
Maybe a small tractor or quad bike and trailer could do the job.
IT’S GOING BACK TO EXTENSIVE LOW INPUT FARMING, THE NATURAL WAY WITH NATURAL PASTURE.
What’s the Alternative?
It seems that most grassland farmers favour set stocking. The sheep are left grazing the same area until no grass is left and then the flock moved to fresh pasture to repeat the same process. The problem is they are able to practise selective, indiscriminate grazing and demolish the nutritious palatable grass varieties, leaving unpalatable, less nutritious grasses, weeds and the tough stuff. Palatable grasses disappear, and the sheep decline in health and wellbeing.
AND IT GOES DOWNHILL ALL THE TIME: NEGATIVELY IMPACTING ON THE SUSTAINABILITY OF THE GRASS PRODUCTIVITY AND REDUCING THE PROFITABILITY OF THE FARMING ENTERPRISE.
Not only have all the palatable highly nutritious grass been destroyed but are taken over by unpalatable grass species, weeds and moss. This happens with most set stocking with 40-50% moss appearing and even higher!!
First law – Sufficient intervals and rest periods
Second law – Limited timed rationed occupation periods
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