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QMS Head Highlights Sustainability Credentials of Scottish Livestock Production

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QMS Head Highlights Sustainability Credentials of Scottish Livestock Production

QMS Head Highlights Sustainability Credentials of Scottish Livestock Production
July 11
11:15 2014

A clear message that livestock production in Scotland deserves recognition for its valuable sustainability role, has come from Jim McLaren, Chairman of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

During a presentation at the Royal Highland Show last month, Mr McLaren warned that in the drive to lower emissions it was vital to avoid any quick win measures which would simply result in reduced output.

‘The red meat industry, and ruminant production systems in particular, are regularly in the firing line when climate change is discussed,’ observed Mr McLaren.

‘The reality is that Scotland is uniquely placed to capitalise on its ability to convert human inedible forage protein into human edible red meat protein through the medium of the rumen.

‘It is essential that we maintain production in these areas if we are to avoid squandering the opportunity to utilise these precious resources.’

Mr McLaren added that QMS is assisting the industry in its efforts to improve efficiency and reduce costs and waste: ‘These include a new network of newly launched grazing groups, which focus on the substantial potential benefits of improving the utilisation of grassland.’

Michael Blanche, one of the Grazing Group host farmers, explained the aims of the new initiative:

“The overall objective of the Grazing Groups is to increase the kilos of meat produced per hectare through better utilisation of grass,’ he said.

‘The plan is to calculate each farm’s benchmark of liveweight produced per hectare, and then analyse where we can make improvements without increasing costs or labour input.

‘The challenge will be there for all group members to go back to their farm and increase their production, too.’

He added: ‘There is a lot of talk about performance per ewe or per cow but stocking rate is a major driver of profit on any farm.  Higher stocking rates demand real skills in grazing management and feed budgeting, and a significant goal of the groups is to refine those skills with the help of grazing experts.’

The first meetings on the host farms are set to take place in July and August

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