Majority of dairy farmers think cows should graze

Over two-thirds of Scottish dairy farmers believe that dairy cows should graze grass for part of the year according to a survey conducted by the James Hutton Institute.

The research into attitudes of people working in the dairy sector revealed that 19% of UK respondents housed their cows all year round. However, 68% of Scottish dairy farmer respondents thought cows should graze for part of the year.

The findings are part of the Cows eat grass, don’t they? study, funded by the British Academy and the Centre of Expertise on Animal Disease Outbreaks (EPIC).

Lead researcher Dr Orla Shortall, said that some of the reasons given by farmers for preferring cows to graze were primarily linked to their experience working with cows outside.

“They liked working with cows outside. They liked letting the cows out in spring, they liked being outside in nature and some of them had the view that their cows liked to graze,” she said.

BVD and sheep scab eradication plan for 2031

The UK livestock industry has set out its ambition to be clear of both sheep scab and Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) within 10 years.

Taking forward the initiative is Ruminant Health & Welfare, a new UK industry-based body tasked with helping farmers tackle sheep and cattle disease.

It is chaired by former NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller, with membership including UK farming unions, government agencies and research bodies.