Grassland Management - Conventional Forage System

View of silage stock

Grazing

The dairy herd is turned out at a set rate of 6 cows/ha with buffer silage feeding, leaving the maximum possible grass area for first-cut silage. After first and second cut the stocking rate is reduced to 4 cows/ha as pasture growth rate declines and aftermaths become available for grazing. Young stock generally graze the permanent pastures. Sheep are brought onto the farm in late autumn to complete defoliation of all pastures by the end of February.

Leys are direct sown in August after winter barley, using a perennial ryegrass/white clover mixture. The fertiliser regime for the grazing area has changed in recent years, as more white clover has been included. Currently the main grazing area receives dressings which total 280 kg N/ha, 20 kg P/ha, 30 kg K/ha and 35 kg S/ha.

Silage

The aim is to produce sufficient clamp silage from three cuts of grass. The crop is wilted if weather conditions permit and an inoculant additive is used. The grass from the leys at Ouston is brought to the Nafferton pits. These leys are in need of reseeding as they contain a large percentage of weed species. This will be done gradually by taking an arable crop first then direct reseeding in the autumn with medium to late heading grass varieties mixed with white clover. This will provide long term grass swards with minimum fertilizer requirements.