Grass drives profit for BFA Grassland Manager of the Year

Wednesday 26.10.2022 , News

It was Andrew Brewer’s strong business focus on excellent grassland management alongside clear net zero goals which saw him named Grassland Manager of the Year in the 2022 British Farming Awards.

“It’s all about growing grass and grazing in our business. High-quality grass is our most natural and profitable asset. We grow good grass all year and aim to graze cows every day. Grazing is the main driver of our profitability.”

Farm Facts

  • 400 ha farmed by husband-and-wife Andrew and Claire Brewer
  • Farm situated near Newquay, Cornwall
  • 500-cow autumn block calving
  • 30-day grazing rotation
  • Jersey crossbred herd

Grazing methods

Andrew and wife Claire run a 500-cow autumn block calving Jersey crossbred herd on 400 hectares near Newquay in Cornwall striving to meet their production and financial targets entirely through grazing.

To do this Andrew has a keen eye on grass quality. He uses a mixture of Germinal’s Aber High Sugar Grass varieties with white clover, consulting the recommended lists to select the most productive.

Using a 30-day rotation from the beginning of March to November, Andrew manages the cows around grass availability, drying them off as grass growth begins to drop in June or July. He then moves to on/off grazing through the winter.

“The cows graze a maximum of three hours a day in winter, coming off early if it’s wet to avoid poaching and damaging the soil. We also finish our beef calves on grass over the winter, making full use of our year-round grass availability.

“We’ve devised our own version of the three Rs for managing our grass – round length, residual and rumen fill. Knowing the right height for grazing and seeing when the cows are full, this is a simple system for the team to check and manage.”

Soil health and environmental gains from multi-species

Andrew knows soil and animal health are central to maintaining productivity and fundamental to his net zero aspirations, so is actively looking for ways to target improvements in these areas.

He is currently investigating mixed swards adding red clover, plantain, chicory, cocksfoot and timothy to his existing ryegrass and white clover. Used predominantly with youngstock, he’s interested in the impact of sward diversity on rumination and milk constituents.

Cover crops are also attracting Andrew’s attention in his quest to find the best ways to improve soil health in a rotational grazing system.

“The more we can grow and use on our farm, the more we become a resilient, sustainable and profitable business of the future.”

Germinal sponsoring grassland excellence 

Grassland Manager of the Year is a new category in the British Farming Awards sponsored by Germinal. We support progressive grassland farmers in achieving their production goals sustainably and are committed to helping farmers gain the most from their pasture-based systems. Congratulations to the inaugural winner of this award, Andrew Brewer.

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