Project Leader: Debbie McConnell Project Summary: A detailed on-farm survey will be designed and distributed to dairy farmers across Northern Ireland. This project aims to better understand the barriers to improving both grass production and utilisation, and milk from forage. Project Objectives: Evaluate current farmer attitudes towards grassland production and milk from forage Consider the reasons behind the decline in milk from forage production Understand the factors affecting farmers attitudes to grassland production and utilisation and milk from forage Identify major perceived...

Project Summary Fresh grass is the cheapest feed source available for ruminant animals. It is Northern Ireland’s competitive advantage to grow grass the majority of the year and this advantage must be optimised to ensure maximum efficiency within our dairy industry. In Northern Ireland, grazing remains a major component in dairy cow diets during the spring and summer months and can significantly influence animal performance and profit during this period. Individual animal grass DMI and consequently performance at pasture is influenced by a range of factors including: the animals’ genetic...

RCF-03/2017 - Improving efficiency within feed-to-yield concentrate feeding systems for dairy cows: understanding drivers of performance, milk quality, cow fertility and health
Objective Concentrate feed levels have increased on Northern Ireland dairy farms, with concentrates now comprising 60-70% of the variable costs of milk production. However, CAFRE Benchmarking data has highlighted that concentrate use efficiency on dairy farms is hugely variable, while overfeeding of concentrates contributes to the Northern Ireland phosphorus (P) surplus.  As concentrate feed levels have increased, concentrates are increasingly being offered to dairy cows on a ‘feed-to-yield’ basis, with feed levels in excess of 20 kg concentrate/cow/day not uncommon with higher...

D-82-16 - Enhancing precision within winter feeding systems for dairy cows
Objectives: The overall objective of this research programme is to introduce increased precision into concentrate allocation and management strategies for dairy cows, and to increase reliance on quality forage in dairy cow diets, through 1) an enhanced focus on individual animal data, by 2) making use of individual cow precision monitoring technologies, 3) through the development of intake prediction algorithms and, 4) by exploring the role of Mid-Infra Red Reflectance milk technology to predict animal characteristics. This overall objective will be achieved through the following...