Sustainable Hill Country
Direct Grazing Trial
On the 5th December 2019, Nick Broad brought in 10 cows with calves for our first direct grazing trial.
Affectionately known as the ‘G and T Trial’ (referring to the Graze and Trim treatments) on Nick’s property, we aim to estimate the volume and value of feed that Tagasaste can produce under a direct graze regime.
Day one had the cows showing a lot of interest in the rank grass within the trial area, but they only used the trees for rubbing on! There was a little bit of browsing going on, so they were able to get an idea of the new flavour. With the cows more accustomed to the taste - Nick and Craig had much better results when they put the cows back in the area the next day.
This initial ‘G & T Trial’ has taught us that that cows need to first learn about the new feed source, before being introduced to a larger quantity. For our next attempt, we plan to cut and feed the cows a few branches during the week prior to the grazing trial. Cows will then get used to the new feed and hopefully be ready to browse the tree readily!
We hope for the next grazing to be in February 2020 (although this is dependent on the rate of regrowth) and we will be continuing this trial until the end of the funded project in mid 2021.
Each trial tree has an ID (G = Graze, T = Trim)
Graze area: measuring pre-graze feed
Day 1 of trial: cows and calves in graze area