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Weeding Out Best Practice Grassland Management

Chris Cameron

Grassland management and weed control will be the focus of the next Lochaber Monitor Farm meeting on Thursday 13 June.

The meeting, which will assemble at the Moorings, Fort William car park (PH33 7LY) at 11:30am, will discuss and debate how Strone Farm should go about managing some of the old and new grass swards to maximise returns to their livestock business.

Strone farm, Lochaber’s monitor farm in Banavie near Fort William, is run by father and son team Malcolm and Chris Cameron.

Chris and Malcolm Cameron have made it a priority to improve the grazing land at Strone with improvement already noted in soil health and grass production in targeted fields following soil tests. These fields have received lime and fertiliser applications, and been ploughed and reseeded with a grass and clover mix in order to improve both yield and quality. The next step is to make sure these new leys are efficiently managed for livestock grazing and silage production to see them through the winter.

The group will go on a mini-bus tour of Strone farm, stopping at the key grassland swards available for both grazing and silage for the 2019 season. The group will be tasked with deciding the best use of these fields for the coming season and going forward.

Joining the group at the meeting on Thursday 13 June are SRUC grassland agronomist David Lawson and Watson Seeds agronomist Andrew Best, who will be on hand to answer any questions and discuss the grass seed mixtures formulated to suit the needs of Strone farm. They will also discuss how best to manage any weeds appearing in the new leys.

“This is my first visit to Strone Farm and I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone and using my previous experience on monitor farms to help formulate mixtures that are suitable to the Argyll area,” said Mr Best.

The Lochaber 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 on Thursday 13 June will start at the Moorings Hotel car park and will begin 11:30am and finish at 3:30pm. To book your attendance please contact facilitators Niall Campbell or George Gauley on 01631 563093 or email fbsoban@sac.co.uk.

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