New “Better Grazing” Initiative Launched by QMS

Alex Brewster

Farmers across Scotland are being urged to get involved in the new “Better Grazing” programme launched this week by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

The new grazing project, which is being offered free of charge, aims to help farmers identify opportunities to improve their utilisation of grazed grass and follows the very successful QMS Grazing Group project which came to an end in March this year.

This previous Grazing Group project attracted a huge amount of interest from farmers keen to increase their farms’ profitability by optimising their grazing management and making the best use of grazed grass as a low-cost feed option.

The new “Better Grazing” initiative will establish six regional groups in Perth, Inverurie, Inverness, Campbeltown, Lockerbie and Melrose. Each group will meet four times a year and will help livestock farmers find ways to improve the utilisation of grass on their farms and increase the kilogrammes of meat produced per hectare.

In a change from the format of the previous project, the new programme won’t be based around a host farm. Instead there will be farm visits to those who have already made changes to their grazing management or to new group members keen to make better use of their grass with the help and support of the rest of the group.

The topics to be covered over the course of the next three years include: grazing strategies; wintering systems; fencing and watering options; how to extend the grazing system; soil management; the control of internal parasites and ruminant nutrition.

The meetings will involve a range of expert speakers as well as farmers from around Scotland who will share their experiences of how they have improved their grassland management and the benefits they have seen.

One example of the farmer speakers is Alex Brewster from Rotmell Farm, near Dunkeld, who will be speaking at the launch of the Inverness regional grazing group on 11 August. He runs 800 Blackface ewes and 100 commercial Aberdeen Angus cows on his 986-hectare farm and hosted the previous QMS Perthshire Grazing Group.

He said: “There is no doubt the grazing group experience has put us on the right road to building a viable business in what is just now an uncertain farming industry.”

Douglas Bell, QMS Head of Industry Development, encouraged farmers keen to improve their output from grass to get involved. He said: “The Better Grazing” programme provides a great opportunity for livestock farmers to improve their current grazing management and the impact on their bottom line.

“Farmers involved with the original QMS Grazing Group project have shown that making changes to their grazing has led to an increase in their farms profitability, not only through reduced costs but also by increasing output.”

The first round of meetings will be held at the Gloagburn Farm Coffee Shop, Perth on Wednesday 9 August; the Thainstone Centre, Inverurie on Thursday 10 August; NTS Culloden, Inverness on Friday 11 August; the Ardshiel Hotel, Campbeltown on Monday 14 August; the Dryfesdale Hotel, Lockerbie on Wednesday 16 August; and Melrose Rugby Club on Thursday 17 August.

Places at these events are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. For more information about any of the meetings and to reserve your place, please contact QMS on 0131 472 4040 or email