The Golden Hoof

The cost of fertiliser is a very topical issue and driving farmers to find less expensive options. I have been increasingly involved in the preparation of agreements so clients can actively find ways to incorporate livestock into arable rotations as a result.

Many would call this “regenerative agriculture,” a current buzzword, and it certainly meets one of the key criteria, however, this is the return to an age-old system.

Sheep were once so revered in the beneficial management of land that they were called “the golden hoof.”

As farming has become increasingly specialised the loss of livestock from arable systems has prevailed. The cost of fertiliser and reduction in subsidies has made farmers question the economic and environmental sustainability of such systems.

Including livestock in the rotation can bring multiple advantages, including improving soil health and weed management

Increasingly sheep are returning to arable fields to graze on stubble turnips and several Countryside Stewardship options are now available to benefit such systems.

The aim is to increase the productivity of arable fields and reduce input costs.

The use of grass leys in arable fields can be a highly effective way of reducing the black-grass burden on a field whilst often bringing in additional income from the grazier.

The long-term gains outweigh expectations of instant returns when making a radical change to a system, but early signs are promising.

Please contact Sarah Hogg if you would like to discuss this further.

Sarah Hogg BSc (Hons) MRICS FAAV

Tel: 07967 216989



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