All Over Clover
The All Over Clover Field Lab, at Bryce Cunningham's dairy farm at Mossgiel in Ayrshire, started out discussing the challenges of herbal leys, and has evolved to explore a Holistic Management farm system.
Since our last discussion in February about how best to improve Mossgiel’s grass swards, Bryce has had intensive on-farm Holistic Management training with 3LM. This has informed the overall vision for the farm and also his plans for the Field Lab, with the aim of tackling the root causes of compaction through changes in grazing management and close monitoring of the fields.
For the Field Lab, Bryce will be trialling two different grass seed mixes (one standard grass/clover mix and a bespoke herbal/grass mix prepared by Andrew Best) with the aim of reseeding following hard grazing or after a first cut silage has been taken, depending on conditions. At the same time he will be implementing a new grazing system that helps the farm build towards sustained profitability, healthy social relationships, thriving soil and ecosystems.
“What we’re doing today is for five years down the line," explains Bryce. "It all goes back to financial planning and your own holistic context, so no two grazing plans will be the same. It’s all about the principle of rest and moving animals at the right time. We’ll be slightly overstocked for the first year of holistic management plan but at the end of three years we hope to be able to carry three times the number of stock on the same land. The water cycle is our main challenge on the farm.”
The next Field Lab meeting will be a chance to hear more about his new management plan and will involve a trip to one of the trial fields to assess his grass before reseeding. We’ll also discuss the best methods for monitoring progress of the Field Lab. We are hoping to build a small core team of farmers who would like to contribute to discussions and support Bryce as he implements his new plan. We intend to have informal meetings roughly every two months over the next year or two, as we gather data and analyse results.