appendix 9 copies of popular press articles project bd 1216 and bd0107 september 2002 rumevite blocks help manag

Appendix 9
Copies of popular press articles
Project BD 1216 and BD0107
September 2002
Rumevite Blocks Help Manage Environmental Schemes
24 hour Rumevite blocks are a highly convenient and versatile feeding
option for sheep producers aiming to take advantage of the various
environmental conservation schemes run in England, Wales and Scotland.
Black faced hill ewes
T
hat’s the view of ADAS researcher Owen Davies who says block feeding
offers farmers one way of overcoming some of the restrictions inherent
in ESA and other conservation schemes.
"Environmental scheme restrictions generally close off the normal
grazing management regimes available to other livestock producers.
Fertiliser and fencing restrictions are too good examples," he says.
"With fertiliser restrictions in particular, farmers lose the
flexibility to apply fertiliser strategically when they need extra
grass. For example, having to wait for clover to fix nitrogen rather
than applying nitrogen yourself means early bite will be delayed. Or
if you get a prolonged drought and you’re short of grass for winter
conservation, you can’t apply fertiliser when you ideally want to.
This means you need other ways of reducing grazing pressure and
supplementary feed options. Feed blocks offer an ideal solution and
help you bring flexibility back into your production system."
Owen says environmental scheme fencing restrictions can also pose
grazing pressure challenges. "Where scheme restrictions are designed
to produce visually-appealing, wilderness areas with minimal fencing,
sheep producers need to find other ways of managing grazing areas.
Rotating feed block sites offers you another way of shepherding to
better manage your grazing areas," he says.
Rumevite Proven in trials - Again!
Introduction
ADAS trials are demonstrating the benefits of Rumevite for upland and
lowland sheep systems. From satellite tracking data illustrating the
ability of blocks to cost-effectively manage upland grazing, to
studies showing a feed block system offers lowland producers a viable
but simpler pre-lambing feeding alternative to concentrates - Rumevite
offers outstanding value.
Upland Success
Owen Davies and Dr Sarah Hetherington moving Rumevite Original feed
blocks
===================================================================
S
atellite-tracking of sheep grazing behaviour has demonstrated the
value of Rumevite feed blocks in drawing upland ewes to less
attractive vegetation in Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA).
A four-year MAFF-funded study at ADAS Pwllpeiran in Wales has examined
sheep ranging behaviour after Rumevite feed blocks were strategically
placed in under-utilised areas of a heather-dominant mountain pasture.
Visual observations of grazing behaviour were supported by data from
satellite global positioning technology (GPS).
According to ADAS researcher Owen Davies, grazing time spent in
heather- dominant areas was increased by 14% when feed blocks were
present and there was a significant rise in sheep density within 25
metres of a feed block site. As a result, heather utilisation was
increased significantly.
"In the first year, grazing of the surrounding heather increased by
15% when feed blocks were sited in an area, but interestingly feed
block consumption was relatively small (140g-200g per ewe per day),"
he points out.
"This increase in heather grazing will not only prevent heather
becoming rank and unpalatable, but will also help prevent over-grazing
of the preferred grassy banks."
Owen Davies says the study has demonstrated a relatively inexpensive
but effective, practical alternative to traditional shepherding of
semi-natural rough grazing.
"Even the lower stocking rates associated with environmental
prescriptions for semi-natural rough grazing are not enough to prevent
over-grazing of favoured areas," he stresses. "With no supplementary
feeding, ewes will range in search of palatable grasses at the expense
of less attractive heather. But by using self-help blocks (even at low
stocking rates) flock managers can achieve a significant increase in
rough grazing utilisation within a 25 metre radius of the blocks."

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