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Rob R

Food waste in the UK

You may have read my comments about how we need to preserve & maintain our wetlands for a variety of reasons and that we need to eat a lot more meat for a sustainable future, which may sound like it goes against the Zeitgeist. The thing is, I see it every day, and I see all the wildlife and biodiversity that flourishes if we manage the land well. I tend to share photos of the cattle grazing, and the wildlife around them. What I don't show are the acre upon acre that aren't grazed, so here are a few shots from my walk at the weekend through the land that we simply can't graze due to a lack of livestock in the valley;







This is why I get frustrated about the banal regurgitation of the 'eat less meat & the world will become a lovely place' myth. *This* is what happens when people eat less meat - the land stands idle, producing nothing, while well meaning but completely misguided people put an increasing amount of pressure on the intensively farmed 'easy' land that is home to most of our vegetable production and is cultivated, sprayed & irrigated into oblivion;



GrahamH

Good photos Rob......you have my vote regarding the meat question.
Mistress Rose

The land in the first pictures looks like good grazing, and as you say Rob, it would be far better grazed. We need a balance, but there is some land that just can't be used for arable. They tried ploughing and cropping the field opposite us one year. It was back to pasture within a couple of years as it was too steep and too stony with thin soil for anything other than grass.
Falstaff

"...........walk at the weekend through the land that we simply can't graze due to a lack of livestock in the valley;.........."

Is that the reason Rob ? you can't "Get" the livestock ?

Confused
Nick

I suspect there's no shortage of cows to be bought, but someone needs to buy the beef at the other end.
Lorrainelovesplants

sheep?
Rob R

"...........walk at the weekend through the land that we simply can't graze due to a lack of livestock in the valley;.........."

Is that the reason Rob ? you can't "Get" the livestock ?

Confused


Nick's right, and there's also the fact that they cost money to buy and keep in the meantime. Plus, if they aren't making money, another income has to be sought elsewhere, which either means investing money in something else or taking on outside work. If you do the former you don't have money to invest in livestock & facilities, and if you do the latter you don't physically have time to look after the livestock.
Ty Gwyn

Correct me if i`m wrong,
That`s a lot of grass going to waste that Hill farmers to the North of you would jump at for their store cattle,but i presume the reason its going to waste is lack of fencing,all right if you live local to run electric temporary fencing.
Hairyloon

Nick's right, and there's also the fact that they cost money to buy and keep in the meantime. Plus, if they aren't making money, another income has to be sought elsewhere, which either means investing money in something else or taking on outside work.

How did your idea of "meat futures" go? Could we push that harder?
Rob R

Correct me if i`m wrong,
That`s a lot of grass going to waste that Hill farmers to the North of you would jump at for their store cattle,but i presume the reason its going to waste is lack of fencing,all right if you live local to run electric temporary fencing.

Fencing is an issue on many bits (although this particular field is fenced), as are the timings re: SSSI & flooding, plus these big heavy modern breeds would sink into the peat. There were continentals on it in the past but the previous tenant is past retirement age & is slowing down a bit. Bids were tendered & we were the only offer on the 80 acres (we use about a third and then try to graze this piece before the flooding, but it really need grazing now, before the water comes up. Our cows are in the next field), such is the demand.
Rob R

Nick's right, and there's also the fact that they cost money to buy and keep in the meantime. Plus, if they aren't making money, another income has to be sought elsewhere, which either means investing money in something else or taking on outside work.
How did your idea of "meat futures" go? Could we push that harder?

It's still going, and it helps get a few more hooves on the ground.
Hairyloon

Nick's right, and there's also the fact that they cost money to buy and keep in the meantime. Plus, if they aren't making money, another income has to be sought elsewhere, which either means investing money in something else or taking on outside work.
How did your idea of "meat futures" go? Could we push that harder?

It's still going, and it helps get a few more hooves on the ground.

If you have an advert for it on Facebook, I can tout that more widely than I can on here...
Rob R

Nick's right, and there's also the fact that they cost money to buy and keep in the meantime. Plus, if they aren't making money, another income has to be sought elsewhere, which either means investing money in something else or taking on outside work.
How did your idea of "meat futures" go? Could we push that harder?

It's still going, and it helps get a few more hooves on the ground.

If you have a advert for it on Facebook, I can tout it wider than I can on here...

Thanks, I'll sort something out later today.
Lorrainelovesplants

snap me too! Send me a FB linky thing. Smile NorthernMonkeyGirl

Does GAP still exist / have the grazing exchange section of the website? I wonder if there are enough smallholdery types with old style breeds that could make use of the land there on a temporary basis? dpack

logistics might be tricky as might a herd of strangers. Rob R

logistics might be tricky as might a herd of strangers.

What he said. There just aren't the people out there any longer - the ings used to be divied up into much smaller allotments, each managed by a local farmer. As numbers have dwindled, the areas under single occupancy have got bigger, helped by the advent of the need for biosecurity post-2001.
Ty Gwyn

What period year TB testing are you on in that part of Yorkshire? Rob R

Four Mistress Rose

Our Parish Council have also had trouble finding anyone willing to graze the Downs. They need grazing, but until this year they couldn't find any suitable cows. They would ideally have sheep, but there are too many dogs, very few on a lead. I have suggested Soays. Very Happy Ty Gwyn

When i was in the 4yr testing period,before a dairy farm a few miles away had a bad outbreak,that placed me by distance into a 2yr testing period then to yearly testing,cattle movements were not a problem,one could move from farm to farm or farm to mart without testing prior to movement,
Unless regs on 4yr testing have changed its strange that this cheap grazing is not taken up by other livestock farmers and even stranger that the landowners don`t run store cattle through the summer months and sell on before the winter.
Rob R

There just aren't the numbers of livestock, any longer, simple as that.

The land owners are the public, retired or dead & not in a position to buy stores. Those that are active farmers see no sense in keeping livestock to lose money - and the vegans aren't exactly falling over themselves to plant vegetables, despite what they say on the internet.
Rob R

Nick's right, and there's also the fact that they cost money to buy and keep in the meantime. Plus, if they aren't making money, another income has to be sought elsewhere, which either means investing money in something else or taking on outside work.
How did your idea of "meat futures" go? Could we push that harder?

It's still going, and it helps get a few more hooves on the ground.

If you have a advert for it on Facebook, I can tout it wider than I can on here...

Thanks, I'll sort something out later today.

Sorry it took so long, but it's here now.
dpack

maybe not ,it told me content had expired Mistress Rose

Ditto. Rob R

Sorry, now amended. Rob R

Update; the weather has allowed us to at least start grazing this land;



but, being October, it's a lot less lush than it was. By rights we should be grazing the regrowth now, not just starting to graze it for the first time this year!
Rob R

BTW, today is World Food Day. dpack

it looks like they will take a few seasons to sort that patch,ungrazed for years by the look of it Rob R

it looks like they will take a few seasons to sort that patch,ungrazed for years by the look of it

It was set stocked in 2013, grazed lightly for a few days (the bits that weren't under water) last year but the woody growth is a bit much at this late stage. I'm going to try and graze it in July next year, if we can.
dpack

early graze seems like a good idea ,if it is dry enough.might even get a late finish on it as well.

with the flooding it should be productive if treated well.

can the volunteers etc cut back the scrubby stuff?
Rob R


can the volunteers etc cut back the scrubby stuff?

Laughing No, they struggle to do the couple of acres at the end, along with all the other bits. There's an area upstream that they paid our neighbour 5k just to cut a few years ago - it was no easy money, that stuff eats mowers.

Fortunately they've done a good trample on the paddock I've moved them out of tonight (the one in the picture). It's a bit wetter and looks messy now but not poached so if we can keep that up it'll be some nice stuff come next season, but I have a feeling that we'll have to move them out other than by choice.
dpack

umm ,a highland charge might be less expensive for the rough stuff. Falstaff


can the volunteers etc cut back the scrubby stuff?

Laughing No, they struggle to do the couple of acres at the end, along with all the other bits. There's an area upstream that they paid our neighbour 5k just to cut a few years ago - it was no easy money, that stuff eats mowers.

...................

Bloody hell ! I'm packing my kit as we speak !

PM me ! WITH ACREAGE ETC
Mistress Rose

Having had to change the flails on our mower last year as well as several belts, I can understand the reluctance to mow. We did several acres of bracken this year, and that can take a fair time. If your 5 acres cost that much it must be very hard work. Rob R

It was 100 acres, and not ours, in fact not anyone's because noone could make use of it. Usually it is rented out to farmers & they don't have to be paid to take it on. dpack

Having had to change the flails on our mower last year as well as several belts, I can understand the reluctance to mow. We did several acres of bracken this year, and that can take a fair time. If your 5 acres cost that much it must be very hard work.

my"guerrilla forestry" 7 acre wood(about 30 types of oaks and assorted other trees)has taken 45 yrs but it has(mostly) finished off the bracken even though it was all planted by "broadcast" a few pocketfuls at a time over the decades.(spose the next thing is organizing long term management for it as it does need some first thinning in the next decade or so)

trying to get rid of the stuff by mowing,ploughing or even grazing is always going to be an ongoing battle.

do gruntavaters deal with bracken?
dpack

ps it has done for the few patches of knot weed as well Rob R


do gruntavaters deal with bracken?

Dunno, but Dexters love it where it encroaches their side of the fence.
dpack

moos for the tops and gruntavaters for the root balls might be the answer to clearing the stuff from an area. Mistress Rose

Not an option on this site as it is heathland. Our efforts over the last couple of years have increased the heather, as flailing breaks up the mat. There are ground nesting birds there too, and it has had bracken on parts of it for as long as husband and I can remember, which is the best part of 60 years. The Parish Council are managing it, and they employed us as we were quicker and more effective with our mower than their brush cutters. Tavascarow



do gruntavaters deal with bracken?
Effectively, the only thing I've found they don't deal with is docks.
Tavascarow

Bracken was once a resource not a weed.
Makes excellent animal bedding, & used to be harvested & stored like straw for that purpose.
Many (1980s) years ago the Dartmoor national park tried forage harvesters & composting on the more accessible places. Haven't read about it since so assuming it wasn't a success.
Rob R

The good news is that we finished grazing the field from this post yesterday. OK, there's still work to do because we should have been able to graze it at least twice in a season, but it's progress on last year when we were flooded out before getting round it once.

dpack

clifton ings looks better for 4 1/2 months grazing.it will take a while to recover the small critters/birds from last years first day harrow with a mower but the flora looked good if a bit degraded in diversity(a lot less vetches and medowsweet) before it disappeared under several meters of chilly water.

i recon the ideal thing would be to partially mow and then free graze for a few years to distribute the rarer flora and give the little critters a good chance

ps it was seas of plantain and thistle and buttercup with plenty of docks,some very sparse patches of low value grasses and only part good grassy/herbage hay at mowing time earlier this year as i predicted but plenty of moo action seems to have helped a lot(it has thinned out the non doggy dog walkers as well cos they seem scared of some of the nicest natured moos i have met Twisted Evil Laughing )
Mistress Rose

Sounds as if the cattle have done some good work. Look forward to seeing pictures of it next year when the water goes down.
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