This walk will take place on 13th July (12.30 - 16.30) at Brookhouse Farm, Redditch, Worcestershire, courtesy of Mr Sam Jones.
Farmers have avoided grazing ewes on red clover for decades, based on research that established that the plant could negatively impact sheep pregnancy rates. However, the research was five decades old and relied on a 100% diet of red clover whereas in UK farms legumes are mostly included at 20-30% of the seed mix with red clover as low as 10% inclusion. No matter: for years sheep farmers avoided red clover.
However, red clover is a nutritious legume and is well known for its nitrogen-fixing benefits; using it could support soil improvements as well as being a source of nutrients for sheep. That drove a group of farmers, working with Innovative Farmers and ADAS, to test whether feeding red clover to ewes in UK conditions (at about 20% of red clover in the mix) would actually have any negative effects on sheep pregnancy rates. The results? Not only did rates not suffer, but grazing ewes on herbal leys containing red clover combined with other herbs and legumes could have a positive impact!
This farm walk is a chance to hear from field lab participant Sam Jones about his experience grazing sheep in multi species grassland swards containing red clover, prior to and during mating; and learn more about the results and how to leverage red clover's benefits for your flocks, your soils and your farm's profitability and resilience.
This is also an opportunity to learn about the benefits of connecting and working with other farmers, consolidating knowledge and experiences from a variety of systems and across different geographic areas.
A light lunch and tea/coffee will be provided - please contact us if you have any dietary requirements or allergies.
- The farm walk may involve uneven ground, please wear appropriate outdoor gear/footwear and let us know if you have any specific access requirements in advance.
- Please do not attend if you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or are self-isolating. If you start to display symptoms of Coronavirus, or begin a period of self-isolation after you have booked your ticket – please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to cancel your ticket.
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2022 marks the 10th year of Innovative Farmers. Part of the Duchy Future Farming programme, the network has been pioneering the model of farmer-led research in the UK. To celebrate this milestone and share the achievements of the 120 field labs launched to date, we are hosting a roadshow of events like this one across the country. Find out more about upcoming events here: https://www.innovativefarmers.org/events/