An online survey was used to collect information on how farmers use grass and herbal leys and the benefits and tradeoffs of including leys in arable rotations. Initial results from the survey have been published by ADAS today.
A total of 133 people have responded to the survey so far, of which around half were farmers (remainder were largely agronomists/researchers). Approximately three quarters of the farmers who responded had leys as part of their rotation, either as part of a mixed farming system or for beef/lamb production (less than 10% were dairy farmers), with the leys both cut for silage and grazed (largely using paddock or mob grazing systems rather than set stocking). The full range of soil types (including a couple of farms on peaty/organic soils) and agro-climatic conditions are represented by the network – from north east of Scotland to south west England. Just under half the farmers responding used plough-based cultivation to establish arable crops after the ley, 28% used minimum tillage and 26% direct drilled. More than 90% of the farmers stated that improvements in soil quality were an important factor in their use of grass/herbal leys and 53% said the leys helped them control black-grass. The full results from the survey are available here.
ADAS Principal Scientist Lizzie Sagoo said: “The feedback we’ve had from the survey is really valuable in helping us target and prioritise future research. We’ve had a great response and we look forward to working with those in the network over the coming years”.
The network is free to join and is open to any interested individuals or organisations. If you would like to join the network please click here to register your details and complete the online survey. More information is available on the Grass and herbal leys service webpage.