Surveys & Samples

25 June 2019

This month we attended a really interesting event run by The Soil Association whereby we visited a dairy farm who run their herd on Mob Grazing. The main focus of the visit was to study the grass and how to improve the soil quality for the benefit of the cattle and the farmer.

Here at Balcaskie we are exploring the possibilities of keeping our cattle outside for longer but we need to avoid poaching of the ground which happens in the wetter months. To hopefully avoid the ground being poached we need to improve the water filtrations in the grass fields. During the year we carry out various testing across the farm, these tests include soil health tests and worm counts. This allows us to create a database to track our progress and highlight areas where improvement is needed.

The extended survey of our Mob Grazing areas on the Estate is still ongoing with the final date of the survey completion set to be the third week of July. After that date we should then be able to list all of the species that are established around the Estate.

In the past few weeks the farming team have been busy cutting the silage. From a wildlife and biodiversity side, silage cutting is not the best course of action as it limits habitat for deer, hares and ground nesting birds. As we are now looking into keeping our cattle out longer and Mob Grazing our fields, this will reduce our need for silage and in turn decrease the disturbance of these habitats.

We have also started on the hedge planting aftercare; this involves removing the weeds and grass that ground in and around the hedge plants, this must be done by hand as we do not use chemical weed killers on the Estate. With the many miles of hedging that has been planted in recent years this process takes a considerable amount of time and is likely to extend into July.

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