Cumbria Crack

Lamb from Grass in Flood and Drought- How to build resilience in grazing pastures

[A]drian Bateson and his family farm at Rigg House, Branthwaite near Workington, on the west coast of Cumbria. Winters here tend to be very long and very wet. This year Adrian has had to deal with unprecedented weather patterns beginning in the summer of 2017 with many months of continued rainfall leaving the farm saturated, followed by a baking hot summer.

On Friday 24th August at 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm the Bateson’s are hosting an open afternoon at Rigg House with the Farmer Network and grassland specialist Charlie Morgan, on “how to build resilience into grazing pastures”. Adrian said “This year has been a real test of our grazing system and I would like Charlie to have a look at our fields and hear his views on how to deal with the compaction that was caused in the wet winter, followed by this hot, dry summer. We noticed that in places, the roots of the grass had not been able to get through the compacted soil. This made it more vulnerable to the drought and it died back quickly. We are on heavy soils and this usually means we do well in a dry period, but not this year.”

Dr Fiona Kenyon from the Moredun Research Institute will also be there, speaking about how farmers can choose a worming regime that suits their system to be effective and sustainable. There will be discussion on methods to identify the worm burden and the animals that are most, and least, affected by them. This will be demonstrated by using the Bateson’s sheep handling system.

One tool that Adrian has invested in to help reduce the pressure on his land in winter and also help with breaking stomach worm and liver fluke cycles, is a bespoke sheep shed.

The Farmer Network has organised the event and invited a number of relevant businesses to provide further information.

Refreshments will be provided from 4pm and places are limited so farmers must book by calling The Farmer Network on 01768 868615, texting 07714 187034 or emailing [email protected]

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