Grasslands and livestock - Devon

3rd July 2019

Grasslands and livestock production in Devon.

Key messages from the report include:

  • Grassland forms an important part of Devon’s landscape for agriculture, the food industry and leisure and tourism.
  • Significant improvements are available in grassland production and utilisation, which will lead to benefits in agricultural productivity
  • Grassland farming enables non-human edible foods (ie grass) to become human edible through conversion into animal protein from agricultural land that cannot be used to directly produce human edible foods
  • Meat from these animals has different nutritional compositions that may have less of an impact on human health than meat produced in grain-fed systems
  • Agriculture has the unique ability to offset not only its own carbon production (principally through areas of grassland), but also contribute to wider carbon reduction targets
  • Agriculture, while nationally small in its employment and output, is the basis for the much larger food industry and forms a vital part of local, regional and national identity, traditions and heritage, culture and the landscape
  • There are significant gaps in our knowledge of how to optimally manage grasslands for the multiple functions they provide; thus, on-going research and knowledge exchange is vital

This report is one of a four-part collection.

Note: this report was originally published on the RSA website (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), which hosted the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission between November 2017-April 2020.