Exploring Pasture Farming in the Field: Pros, Cons and Policy Needs

As part of an on-going series events held by the Agricultural Ecology SIG on pasture management in the UK, this re-scheduled event will provide the opportunity for an in depth look at pasture farming as proposed by the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association and their ‘Pasture for Life’ certification mark. Members will hear about recent findings supporting the benefits of feeding animals only on pasture, discuss these approaches and then visit a grazing herd in the Cotswolds practising holistic planned grazing.

Agricultural Ecology Special Interest Group

Livestock production is often criticised for its impact on the environment and contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, but what are the facts and does the way in which the animals are managed influence that impact?

The Pasture-Fed Livestock Association, set up as recently as 2011, believes that it does.  In 2015 they launched their ‘Pasture for Life’ certification mark to recognise cattle and sheep that have been reared exclusively on pasture-fed diets without recourse to grain, soya and other manufactured feeds. This approach will be discussed this event

The scientific evidence supporting the benefits of this system is strong and growing.  Adapting grazing management has shown to enhance biodiversity on farms, improve animal welfare and also provide healthier meat for people to eat.  The Pasture for Life mark is the first certification scheme for 100% grass-fed produce in the UK, and in Europe. Attendees will have an opportunity talk face-to-face to those who launched the certification scheme and discuss the approach with a diverse range of delegates.

This event on 5th July 2017 will be based in Cirencester at the centre of the Cotswolds and within easy reach of London and other conurbations.  The day will start with an explanation of the Pasture for Life scheme by Russ Carrington and hear from Farm Business lecturer at the Royal Agricultural University Jonathan Brunyee about farm economics in the context of climate change and Brexit.  Dave Stanley, a farmer and environmental consultant, will follow with an overview of the science for grasslands and alternative farming systems for cattle and sheep.

After lunch we will travel by coach to Whittington Lodge Farm near Cheltenham, home to farmer Ian Boyd and his herd of Hereford cattle grazing species rich meadows and herbal leys.  Ian was recently featured on BBC Countryfile with Adam Henson and has been pioneering the use of herbal leys to generate a multitude of benefits for animals, wildlife and his beef customers.  This farm visit will enable BES members to see biodiversity thriving alongside beef production.

Pasture-fed farming has a lot of potential, but many hurdles to overcome. Come and find out more, hear the evidence and discuss how more farming of this kind could benefit livestock and pasture management.

For more information contact the PFLA Office, info@pfla.org.uk, 01285 889853