Farm Ireland

Sunday 24 June 2018

Borrowing expertise from dairy grazing techniques

Philip Creighton
Philip Creighton
Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

Philip Creighton is convinced that the grazing management techniques that have become standard on dairy farms are equally applicable to sheep farms.

"It is definitely worth sheep farmers' while to create a paddock system that allows them to rotate stock and graze grass down tight," he said.

"We've just utilised the work from elsewhere rather than trying to reinvent the wheel."

"So we aim to go into covers of 1,200-1,300kg, graze it down to 3.7cm and rotate the flock around each of the five paddocks every 18-19 days.

"At the moment we're growing about 68kgDM/ha per day, and we will take out any surplus grass (that gets too stemmy for optimal grazing) for silage. We know what our daily demand is, and that we need to be budgeting about 850kg of grass drymatter for each ewe-lamb unit.

"Once the lambs are weaned, we switch to a leader-follower system," he said.

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