5 May 1995

Kiwis force a dairy rethink

EXTENDED grazing is catching on fast in Ireland, according to dairy editor of the Irish Farmers Journal Con Hurley.

He explained that EG had started to take-off in Ireland after several visits to New Zealand by Irish farmers and reciprocal visits by Kiwi grassland consultants.

Mr Hurley said the New Zealanders started asking awkward questions like "why make a third cut for silage when the grass could be more profitably grazed?", and "why waste good autumn grass on dry stock and sheep, and bring the productive milkers indoors to more expensive diets?".

"They forced us to re-examine our production systems, which over the past 10 to 15 years have seen most farmers drift away from grass to more expensive and less profitable systems of milk production," said Mr Hurley.

He said the key figure for profitable milk production was feed cost a litre produced and that this was achieved by producing as much milk as possible from grazed grass. This would also considerably lower farm overhead costs.