Detailed information is being developed on the effects of replacing permanent pasture with improved grass varieties (high sugar) +/- legumes on farm economics, animal performance, Greenhouse Gas emissions and product quality.
Interventions are underway at North Wyke where two of the 21 ha farmlets have been progressively resown in 2013 and 2014 (total 75% of each area) with either (a) High Sugar Grass (HSG) as part of a regular reseeding plan or (b) with longer-term HSG and white clover swards (Legume). This reseeding was completed by August 2015. The third farmlet is continuing with (c) the existing Permanent Pasture as a control. All three farmlets are grazed by beef cattle and sheep.
Using a fibre analyser herbage samples collected at Future Farm and North Wyke in the existing Permanent Pastures and intervention reseeds will be analysed for crude fibre, neutral detergent fibre, acid detergent fibre and acid detergent lignin.
Between June 2016 and January 2017 herbage and silage samples will be collected along with meat (North Wyke) and milk (Future Farm) samples, which will be analysed for fatty acid composition at Langford.
14 ha were sown with High Sugar Grasses in September 2015. This is to be compared with similar area of existing Permanent Pasture when grazed by two seperate herds of dairy cows in 2016.
Cows calving in autumn 2015 will be split into 2 groups (of 55-70), balanced for parity and yield, and paddock grazed for 4 months from March 2016.