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Preparing Winter Grazing Strategies Focus at next Nithsdale Monitor Farm Meeting

The next Nithsdale Monitor Farm meeting on Thursday 20 September will focus on improving pasture productivity through soil and grass management. 

Independent grassland consultant Charlie Morgan from GrassMaster Ltd will be the key speaker at the meeting, which will be held at Clonhie Farm, Nithsdale Monitor Farm, Penpont, near Thornhill.

Andrew and Aileen Marchant, who farm at Clonhie, run 900 breeding ewes, a small herd of 20 Luing cattle and have recently invested in 100 deer hinds on their 300-hectare upland tenanted farm.

In the morning, the group will visit various fields and Mr Morgan will lead a discussion on how Clonhie’s current grassland management could be improved.

“We have already done some reseeding, soil testing and applied lime to some of the fields at Clonhie but are keen to learn from Charlie if there is more than we can do to make improve our grazing and utilise our grass better,” said Mr Marchant.

“Last year we deferred some grass and paddock grazed over the winter for the first time to help keep our winter feed costs down. This worked well, and we want to look at ways of developing this further,” he added.

The group will also visit neighbouring Glengar farm, which the Marchants took over the tenancy of in 2016.

“This is the first time we have taken silage off the fields at Glengar and which are currently being used as paddock grazing for sheep. We want to see what can be done to increase grass yield and quality in the future,” said Mr Marchant.

Also at the meeting, Rhidian Jones of RJ Livestock Systems will share the winter feed budget that has been developed for Clonhie and explain what farmers can do to try and get their ewes into optimum condition before the tupping season begins.

The Nithsdale monitor farm is one of nine monitor farms that have been established around Scotland in a joint initiative by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds. The aim of the programme, which is funded by Scottish Government, is to help improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Scottish farm businesses.

The meeting at Clonhie Farm on Thursday 20 September will begin at 11am, end at 3.30pm and will include lunch.

To book your place please contact facilitator Judith Hutchison on 07718 919055 or email judith.agridigm@icloud.com.

For more information about the monitor farm programme visit www.monitorfarms.co.uk.