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Better Grazing = Better Business Conference

The main take-home message from QMS's "Better Grazing = Better Business" conferences held in Moffat on 8 February and Perth on 9 February, was that farmers have an opportunity to improve their profits by taking control of their grass management.

Both meetings were packed with farmers keen to hear, not only from recognised grassland experts, but also from farmers who have revolutionised their systems through better pasture management.

A strong line-up of speakers from Scotland and overseas spoke at the events and guided delegates through the key principles of grazing management, and highlight how it can help unlock the financial and production potential in grazed grass.

In the morning, Andre Van Barneveld from Graise Consultancy in Ireland spoke about the value in grass and how it can increase profitability. He highlighted how farmers can maximise the proportion of grass in the diet through ensuring quality and quantity of grass grown.   

He was joined by Trevor Cook a vet and sheep and beef production consultant from Totally Vets Ltd in Feilding, New Zealand.  Mr Cook specialises in advising farmers on all aspects production from grass-based systems and spoke about how livestock production revolves around feed and link this to grass production and profit.

The final morning speaker was Jim Logan, QMS Borders Grazing Group host farmer at Pirntaton, Fountainhall, Galashiels. The 570-hectare beef and sheep unit runs from 230 metres to 520 metres and has a mixture of temporary and permanent grass with a significant area of rough grazing and some fodder crops. Mr Logan has made several changes to his system over the course of the three-year grazing group project and will shared how he has managed to reduce costs and increase output at bothe events. 


After lunch, farmer Alan Cowan from Northumberland joined by farmer Robert Fleming from South Milton Farm near Stranraer at the event in Moffat, and Michael Shannon from Thankerton at the event in Perth,and spke about the systems they have in place to manage grazing more effectively on their farms.

All three farmers run low cost cattle and sheep enterprises through having a strong focus on maximising the grass they grow and utilise, output efficiency and cost control.  These sessions saw the farmers team up with the experts and provide delegates the opportunity to ask questions and learn about how better grazing has led to better business for them.

QMS set up its "Grazing Group" project three years ago and this is now close to finishing with some impressive results on the farms which took part. Many other farmers who got involved with their local group meetings also made improvements to their grass management systems, allowing them to increase stock numbers and produce more kilos of liveweight per hectare per year.