Perfect Pastures – grassland establishment event at North Bovey

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Techniques to establish grassland and refresh permanent pasture will be the focus for a free workshop hosted at Youlden Farm, North Bovey, as part of the Dartmoor Hill Farm Project training programme.

The event will focus on minimum tillage techniques and how to improve outcomes. There will be speakers and practical demonstrations looking at different drilling options and evaluating results.

Get involved
The workshop is on September 5 from 11am – 3pm and lunch is included. For further details and to book a place call 01626 831059 or email hfp@dartmoor.gov.uk

Agricultural consultant Luppo Diepenbroek will be the main speaker. He specialises in helping farmers to achieve improvements in soil fertility and forage quality linked to grazing management.

He said: “Grassland management is obviously central to any livestock enterprise, but can be challenging in the upland areas where soil and climate influence establishment. This workshop is designed to focus on Dartmoor’s soils and environment and discuss appropriate techniques to establish new or regenerate existing grassland.

“I am very interested in how we can help livestock producers to increase the ‘triple bottom line’ in terms of the financial, social and environmental aspects of livestock farming.”

Soil is key to grassland performance and establishment and the workshop will be supported by Dr Tim Harrod who worked with the Soil Survey of England & Wales from 1965 until 1987.

In 2001 Dr Harrod took up the challenge of completing the unfinished work of the Soil Survey in Devon, by single-handedly mapping the soils of nearly 50,000 acres of ground in the Chagford and Moretonhampstead area, ranging from the deep peat of the high moor to a wide variety of enclosed land. He has also looked at issues such as carbon storage values of local soils and this will be discussed in his presentation and the practical fieldwork session.

Dr Harrod said: “I am delighted to be able to contribute to the workshop and to discuss the soils of the Moretonhampstead series. It’s clearly important when looking at grassland to understand what you have below the surface, its condition and how you can improve its functionality and performance.”

The host venue belongs to Ed and Julie Pollard who farm in partnership with their son George. Their focus is producing quality beef but the land was formerly run as a dairy unit.

Mr Pollard said: “Grassland is at the heart of what we do on this farm. At Youlden we have a mix of soils which require different approaches to reflect the challenge of cultivation and to ensure we conserve them. I am a looking forward to listening to the speakers and the opportunity to discuss establishment options in the field.”

The practical demonstrations are supported by Vincent Tractors, Sampson Agricultural Services and Masons Kings. It will include a range of overseeders and direct drill options suited to regenerating permanent pasture or minimum tillage techniques.

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