Scrub Management with Livestock – Discussion
Thanks to everyone who joined the latest Herefordshire Meadows Group Discussion, it was great to be able to return to the field.
At this first event back, Rich Thomas of Risbury Court took us through how he has been managing his scrub, grassland, orchard and woodland areas. During the walk, Rich shared his experience of recent changes in grazing system and its effect on this mosaic of habitats. Both positives, such as increased grazing area and negatives, including time for managing the regular stock moves were outlined. Overall, it was a good opportunity for members to experience and visualize how encroaching scrub can be managed using livestock. Mob grazing was discussed as a method used to achieve this diverse mosaic grassland and controlling scrub areas. In addition, spraying with salt to encourage livestock to explore unfamiliar plants and cutting paths into the scrub were also discussed as other successful management techniques.
Whilst walking around the hillfort, scrub succession was particularly noticeable, as there was a range in age and structure of the habitat. Even though we are now late in the season it was great to see flowers including autumn hawkbit, harebell and yarrow.
At the end of the walk, other group members shared and outlined their challenges which ranged from tackling large areas of scrub and brambles to managing the transition from mature scrub to a grassland mosaic.
For more information:
- Rich Thomas said that he found Niels Corfield training events particularly inspiring. A new series of events
and courses can be accessed via: https://nielscorfield.com/
- In addition, Bill Grayson’s method of feeding hay to spread seed and encourage stock to graze in new areas (such as scrub) was also considered. This could be used as a conservation tool to tackle habitat mosaics. The following video demonstrates these methods 37 minutes 43 seconds in https://youtu.be/-DV9tZb6P6E
- Rob Havard has used bale grazing and mob grazing to achieve diverse pastures. Read more at: https://www.agricology.co.uk/field/farmer-profiles/rob-havard