Cheshire Demo Farm event

Published 5 July 13

Two demonstration farms, one in Cheshire, one in Devon, were set up for 2013-14, to tell farmers about the latest findings from the DairyCo Grassland, Forage and Soils Research Partnership with BGS.

The farms run demonstrations replicating some of the current research trials, and show how they translate into on-farm practise.

Thursday 11 July the Cheshire demo farm is holding an event on at Orchards Farm, near Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, to look at the impact of soil aeration techniques on soil health and grass growth, as well as utilising slurry in the grazing rotation.

“This is a chance to come and see some of the latest research being demonstrated on a real farm setting,” says Dr Debbie McConnell, DairyCo R&D Manager. “You can talk to the researchers and the farmer about the practicalities of the findings and how they apply on your farm.”

Ray Brown milks a 300cow pedigree Holstein herd, with an average yield of 9,500 litres, at Orchard Farm. The farm focuses on achieving high quality forage and the cows strip graze the fields near the parlour and zero graze the more outlying areas.

Improving nutrient efficiency is important for the farm and they have recently invested in a trailing shoe slurry tanker and plans are in place for an Anaerobic Digestion Unit.

Ray is aiming to replace (in part and in total) nutrients supplied by artificial fertiliser throughout the grazing season, with nutrients from slurry. The demonstration will assess sward and animal performance and the practicality of applying nutrients.

Dr George Fisher, a nutrient management expert, will talk through the importance of nutrient selection and application techniques on farm.

Soil compaction has been a major issue this year and Ray will be looking at the impact of sward lifting and spike aeration techniques on alleviating compaction and on subsequent grass growth. Sward lifting began in autumn so results are being assessed now.

Also at the event Chris Duller independent soil and grassland consultant, will discuss different aspects of soil management at the event.

For more information about the Farm Demo event click here.