A new grazing calculator has been launched to help Scottish livestock farmers make more from grass.
The free online tool, which can be accessed from a desktop computer or a smartphone on the move, has been produced by red meat levy body Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).
The organisation said the calculator, which has been developed in conjunction with grass specialists, is suitable for farmers starting out on a rotational grazing system, and those already familiar with the concept.
It said the calculator aims to help producers develop their understanding of the following principles – matching grass supply to livestock demands; measuring grass and using the data; getting a feel for what grass is available; and understanding what can be utilised by livestock.
“I would encourage everyone to have a look at the calculator which will allow you to plan grazing rotations, time in paddocks and paddock sizes,” said QMS cattle and sheep specialist, John Evans.
“You can also trial different scenarios with various livestock groups and save the results for future reference.”
He said results are provided by the calculator by entering stock type, average body weight, size of the grazing group, grass available, and how often you plan to move stock between fields.
Importance of grass
QMS head of industry development, Bruce McConachie, encouraged farmers to make use of the calculator and said it was designed to complement other resources from the organisation including a rotational grazing guide and sward stick.
He said: “Well managed grassland can provide many benefits including increased yields and growth rates with reduced input costs; rotational grazing is one of the easiest ways to see these benefits.”
Mr McConachie said the Scottish climate was well suited to growing grass, and the calculator was designed to help farmers maximise the value of grass for livestock.
He added: “The new tool has been developed to encourage new grazers to give rotational grazing a try, whilst reminding established grazers of the core principles, actions, and targets to maximise both quality and quantity, and turn grass – our cheapest and best feed – into meat.”
The grazing calculator is available on the QMS website at qmscotland.co.uk