Element 5: Changing grazing patterns

Welsh White cattle, a traditional breed, are proving to be a good business for established farmers in the project area

Ecologically sensitive grazing doesn't just enhance the landscape and restore wildlife; it can be more profitable for farmers

Over thousands of years, wild and domestic grazing animals have shaped the Welsh countryside, and this is particularly true in the uplands. Today the free-ranging animals are gone, and the vast majority of upland livestock is sheep. Unfortunately their grazing action in these areas has created vast areas of coarse, species-poor turf - a habitat that supports very little wildlife.

As stocking densities have increased over recent decades the underlying soil structure has compacted, so that rainwater flows quickly downstream rather than percolating slowly through the soil. New evidence shows that if catle were used instead of sheep, at moderate intensities, and at the appropriate time of year, these problems could be reduced. The range of plant species in the turf would increase significantly, and the cattle's hooves would help break up the soil pans.