QMS is supporting an initiative to deliver benchmarking tools for grass land farmers in Scotland that will help them manage their pasture efficiently and deliver high productivity from ruminant livestock.
GrassCheckGB aims to improve grassland productivity and pasture utilisation on beef and sheep farms through a new grassland performance monitoring network. The project will monitor the growth and quality of pasture, make predictions of future growth and report this to the industry on a weekly basis. A number of pilot farms will be established across the country and equipped with weather stations and other equipment to monitor and report on factors that influence pasture growth and quality, which will be combined with measures of animal performance.
“This initiative is a direct response to the need to farm grassland efficiently. QMS wants to help farmers make better, informed decisions, in every day management of their stock. The benefits will flow out to the wider industry through weekly reports on regional pasture growth and quality that will help all farmers manage pasture for strong animal productivity,” said Dr Heather McCalman, Knowledge Exchange Specialist at QMS.
The project builds on a project developed in Northern Ireland by AFBI. Pasture experts from AFBI and Rothamsted Research at North Wyke in Devon will provide expert advice and support to pilot farmers through online tools and focused on-farm events. Farmers wanting to know more will find application forms and more information here
The project will see three levy bodies - the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) and QMS - partnering with the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL) and researchers at AFBI and Rothamsted Research.
The project is being part-funded from the £2 million fund of AHDB red meat levies ring-fenced for collaborative projects which is managed by the three GB meat levy bodies – AHDB, HCC and QMS. The ring-fenced fund is an interim arrangement while a long-term solution is sought on the issue of levies being collected at point of slaughter in England, for animals which have been reared in Scotland or Wales.