7 June 2002

Pan-European project promotes fresh product

THERE are two types of dairy farmer in northern Europe. Those who use grass and want to manage it better and those who have little confidence in it.

But the EU is keen to encourage both groups to continue grazing animals, rather than opt for more intensive systems, so is investing k1m in the three-year Grazemore project, says Peter Barratt, of the Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland.

ARINI is responsible for co-ordinating the project, but has many project partners, including IGER in the UK, CIAM in Spain, INRA in France, ID-TNO in Holland and SLU in Sweden.

These partners are pulling together information from the various countries to develop an effective computer-based decision support system.

"In November 2004 the project will deliver a computer package allowing improved grass budgeting, cow rationing and management of swards. This will assist producers in the Altantic Arc region of the EU to optimise the proportion of grazed grass in cow diets," says Dr Barratt.

ARINI is currently working on predicting grass growth, mainly based on perennial ryegrass swards, but also for other grass species used in the countries involved. &#42