Did you know that our dairy farm also has a flock of 120 sheep? The mix of mules, which are a cross between Swaledales and Bluefaced Leicesters, and recently-introduced Highlanders, benefit from our farm-wide practice of rotational grazing.
Rotational grazing for sheep makes the health of the animals and the land they graze joint priorities. Rather than leaving our livestock to graze continually on a patch of land, we move the sheep to fresh pasture on a daily basis.
What are the benefits of rotational grazing?
This way of farming means contented sheep and healthy soil. The sheep enjoy a daily supply of fresh grass and the new pasture means their feet stay clean and healthy, as well as reducing the risk of nasty parasites.
By moving the sheep from pasture to pasture, the grass has a chance to grow again and cover the soil, filling it with nutrients and preventing degradation.
What does this mean for Low Sizergh Farm?
We are enthusiastic about nature-friendly farming, and rotational grazing fits in perfectly with farmer Richard’s holistic farming vision of improving soil health and grassland management. The sheep grazing schedule is similar to that of the herd of dairy cows – they are also moved every day during the grazing season.
Having healthier sheep means less demand for medicine and the extended grazing on a nutritious grass crop means they won’t require supplementary feed. Rotational grazing also means we pay close attention to our soils, livestock performance, indicator species (earthworms, spiders, dung beetles, grasshoppers, pollinator insects etc), plant species diversity, wildlife and bird species diversity, and profitability.
Although the long-term results of adopting rotational grazing for the herd and the flock can’t be seen just yet, we are very optimistic about the future. There has already been an improvement in the quality of the soil, and the local flora and fauna are only going to improve over the coming months.
What does this mean for the sheep?
As for the sheep, apart from a few early escape attempts, they have quickly settled into their new routine, enjoying a daily supply of rich grass. Recently, they’ve taken to gathering together every morning, waiting to be moved to fresh pasture.
Becoming a nature-friendly farm
All in all, we’re excited to continue with rotational grazing for sheep. Not only will it benefit the farm but also the farm environment as a whole. It’s a vital step on our journey to becoming a truly nature-friendly farm.
Stop by to see our wonderful flock of sheep, grab a bite to eat in our café and have a browse through the treasure trove of goodies in our farm shop.