Grazing Mentors

Grazing Mentors

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(click to download a registration form)

The Grazing Mentors project offers free one-to-one grazing mentoring. It's open to farmers with any level of grazing experience, of any age and size holding. The mentoring will focus on setting goals and problem solving within your own situation, so is not prescriptive and is based around you making the ultimate decisions for your ambitions. 

Six mentors undertook mentoring training in June 2016, and are now ready to offer their expertise and guidance to grassland producers seeking to upskill, grow and utilise more grass and forage and increase their farm profitability as a result.

There is no commitment requirement for the producer, and along with being completely free of charge, we hope that this will encourage a large number of diverse farmers to benefit through involvement.

Who and where are the Mentors?

Each of the mentors was sought out by BGS for their experience and hence ability to impart positive guidance in grazing management. The fact that they are involved on a voluntary basis further shows their enthusiasm for the aims of the project.

  1. Malcolm Fewster - West Yorkshire | Download Malcolm's Profile |
  2. Tony Evans - Leicestershire | Download Tony's Profile |
  3. Andrew Fletcher - Cheshire
  4. Matthew Ingram - Shropshire | Download Matthew's Profile |
  5. Tim Simons - Pembrokeshire | Download Tim's Profile |
  6. Simon Martin – Wiltshire | Download Simon's Profile |
  7. Jim Baird - Lanarkshire | Download Jim's Profile |
Map of Mentor locations | Download map here |

 

Participants will get:

    • Initial visit with mentor, including goal setting
      • Intermediate contact with mentor via phone or email
    • Follow-up visit (potential to be at either the mentee’s or mentor’s farm)
    • Feed data in to project review activity with BGS

 

 

How to get involved

If you'd like to register for free one-to-one grazing mentoring, or simply want to find out more, please contact the BGS office, or Elaine or Charlotte directly.

BGS office - tel: 01270 616464

Elaine Jewkes, Society Director - tel: 07833 449245 or e-mail: elaine@britishgrassland.com

Charlotte Evans, Technical Project Manager (part-time) - tel: 07833 437974 or e-mail: charlotte.evans@britishgrassland.com

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Background:

The new Grazing Mentors project aims to build on the success of the previous Grazing Partners initiative, ran by BGS from 2009 - 2012. Grazing Partners was launched after Sara Gregson saw the benefits of such a scheme in Canada as part of her Nuffield Scholarship travels. It matched experienced graziers with those looking to improve, and as a result delivered advice and guidance in a way that is impartial and producer focused - unlike that offered by other influencers that producers may turn to (consultants, industry reps, the next door farmer and so on).

Benefits seen by the producers included:

  • Personal interest from an independent outsider – a pair of fresh eyes
  • The discussions that take place are completely relevant to his/her farm
  • Gains confidence to try new ways of working
  • Gains friendship and useful contacts

Grazing Partners Project Outcomes:

  • 18 grassland farmers trained as mentors – 11 dairy, 7 beef and sheep
  • 125 enquiries65 partnerships set up
  • Mentors encouraged real change in practice including - Limin; Reseeding with new grass varietie; Introducing clove; Increasing stocking rates; Switching to rotational grazing

Feedback included:

  • My mentor has saved me money on fertiliser
  • Our mentor has been inspirational. It was great to have someone here who wasn't selling anything apart from good ideas
  • My mentor showed me what I can achieve from grass

Case Study 1

Mentor Simon Martin

Mentee Dairy Farmer, Wiltshire

Discussions took place on:

  • Switching from a high output to low output, grass-based system
  • Paddocks – layout, tracks, fencing and water troughs
  • Re-seeds
  • Grass measuring – preparing a feed wedge

Case Study 2

Mentor Glasnant Morgan

Mentee Sheep Farmer, Mid Wales

Discussions took place on:

  • Weed control
  • Soil test results
  • Grazing management
  • Forage crop choice
  • Which local grassland groups to join

Pilot project conclusions:

This was an innovative scheme that;

  • Helped mid-performing producers improve their grassland skills
  • Tapped into an existing knowledge resource – i.e. using farmers to spread technical messages rather than relying on grassland consultants – who are few and far between
  • Delivered real change in practice on UK livestock farms, cutting costs and increasing profitability 

 Click here for an information sheet on the Grazing Partners

 

Members

BGS Members BGS is a membership organisation which acts as a communication forum, through events and publications, for the profitable and sustainable use of grass and forage.

Local Societies

BGS Members Use our Local Society directory to locate your nearest societies, information resources and experts on grassland farming and foraging.