PhD Title: Determining the Potential for Precision Grazing to Improve the Resilience of Livestock Production Systems
KESS 2 East Scholarship in collaboration with Hybu Cig Cymru
Grass has been shown to be the cheapest feed to provide ruminant systems and has the least environmental impacts. However, there remains huge variability in the quantity, quality and utilisation of grass grown on farms, much of which is down to management. This ‘lost’ feed has to be replaced with imported soya or grain, which increases the economic and environmental burden of production systems. Indeed, studies estimate that 50% of grass grown on UK farms is wasted, which has implications for nutrient use and greenhouse gas emissions. The impacts of different grazing systems on the efficiency of pasture production, however, is profound. Some systems (e.g. rotational grazing) have been shown to utilise 60- 70% of grass grown, whilst the newer ‘cell grazing’ systems purportedly utilise 90% of grass grown.
My research will examine different grazing management systems and evaluate their overall economic and environmental sustainability. I also will be conducting research into the current state of grazing in Wales and what the barriers are to changing a grazing management system.