New tool launched to help farmers manage their rotational grazing on the hoof

12 Jul 2021

A free online tool to help farmers optimise their grazing, which will in turn improve their productivity and profitability, has been launched by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS). Whether rotationally grazing livestock for the first time or developing their system, farmers are encouraged to familiarise themselves with QMS’ new Grazing Calculator.

The method of calculation has been developed in conjunction with grass specialists and the tool’s design means it’s quick, easy, and simple for anyone working on a farm – regardless of experience or knowledge – to use.

The calculator can be easily accessed from the office computer or smart phone whilst in the field and aims to develop the user’s 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, what can be utilised by stock.

John Evans, Cattle and Sheep Specialist at QMS commented: “The online tool is primarily aimed at farmers starting out on the journey into managed grazing. However, the calculator will also be handy for the more experienced grazier looking to do some quick calculations ‘on the hoof’.

“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. You can also trial different scenarios with various livestock groups and save the results for future reference.”

Results are provided by entering stock type, average body weight, mob size, grass available and how often you are looking to shift your stock.

Commenting on the importance of grass utilisation, QMS Head of Industry Development, Bruce McConachie, 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.

“Scotland’s climate is well suited to growing grass. However, it is not just about the quantity of grass we can grow here – quality is also fundamental to maximising its value for livestock. 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.”

Complimenting the Sward Stick, Cow and Ewe Timeline and the QMS Introducing a Rotational Grazing System guide, the new Grazing Calculator is available via the QMS website.