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Stackyard News Aug 09

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    Sheep Grazing Demo - New Ideas, New Approaches

As the feeding quality of grass falls at this time of year, farmers need alternative crops to finish their lambs on, ready for market. At 1.00 pm on Wednesday 2nd September farmers can see the results of a crop trial designed to study some new options. It is at Sunnyside Farm, Macbiehill, La Mancha EH47 7AZ.

Trial examined grazing, nutrition and managing sheep
on different systems.

ewes and lambs

SAC, together with J.Watson Seeds Ltd, Limagrain, BSH and Rumenco previously studied a range of different brassica crops and chicory. They found that, while lambs on the brassicas performed similarly, the chicory reduced the worm (parasite) burdens in the sheep. This year a trial has investigated the performance of repeated grazing of chicory mixes (in year 2 of production), hybrid forage brassicas and red clover. The plots were grazed in rotation by female replacement sheep (gimmers) with measurements made to help calculate how well each crop might feed a flock.

In addition to the questions over grazing and nutrition of sheep, the trial also considered the best way to manage sheep on the different systems. It considered whether the use of alternative breeds, such as “Easycare”, avoided the need to dock sheep’s tails in order to avoid fly strike. Data was also collected on the live weight gain, parasite burden and cleanliness of each breed in the trial.

Three breeds were used. Mules and Rissington Highlanders, courtesy of Drew Guthrie of Bowhill Estates and the wool –shedding Easycare (F1/F2) breed from Jim Wight, East Fortissat Farm, Shotts. The Highlander and Mule gimmers were shorn on arrival. They went out to the plots on 24th May.

The trial demonstration site is just off the A701, Leadburn/Broughton road near Lamancha. Light refreshments will be provided. Those planning to attend should confirm with J Watson Seeds, 013688 40655.

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