Jim Logan who farms at Pirntaton at Fountainhall, Galashiels is currently changing both sheep and cattle livestock systems and believes this is the right time to make changes to his grazing regime too.
The 570ha farm 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. The farm used to run a stratified system of Blackfaces on the hill, producing Mules, then Texel Mules. The cross sheep were all lambed indoors. Historically the farm produced Blackface and Texel rams, and Angus bulls.
However, concerns about costs of production have led to a change in system. Cheviots are now the base for the hill flock, with Lleyn, EasyCare and Romney genetics in the lower ground flock. Lambing is now later, and outdoors with the aim of making more from grass and reducing reliance on concentrates. The farm also runs an Innovis AberTex Nucleus flock. The Angus cattle are now being crossed with a Hereford, with a Stabiliser used on heifers. Cows are calved outdoors in May, with the aim to get youngstock finished off grass at the end of their second summer.
Jim has already set up some paddocks to rotationally graze. His system changes and better grass management have allowed ewe numbers to increase from 1350 to 1750, with plans to increase cow numbers from110 head to 130 head. Work is ongoing to set up more paddocks and trial different forages such as plantain and Italian Rye.