HUGE ASSET UNDERUSED

31 January 1997




HUGE ASSET UNDERUSED

IMPROVED grass management is the key to lifting farm profit – after all grazed grass is the cheapest feed for ruminants.

One tonne of grazed grass dry matter is a third the cost of one tonne of silage DM, and one seventh the cost of a tonne of concentrate DM.

But despite this grass in the UK is an undervalued resource. Currently it accounts for only 40% of the dairy cows diet. Increasing that proportion to 55% could reduce feed costs by £100 a cow. Some highly profitable farms in Ireland and the UK are achieving greater than 80% grazed grass in the total diet. They have changed their management focus from one of ensuring there is enough silage in the clamp, to one where grazing has priority.

This supplement is, therefore, targeted at producers who are keen to lift profits by improving grass use. It outlines the potential profits that can be achieved on farms – in both the north and south of the country – where more emphasis is placed on grass management.

Of key importance is better monitoring of grass growth, and budgeting of that valuable resource to meet cow needs. Farm infrastructure supporting grazing, such as tracks, gateways and water supplies, has also been improved by keen grassland managers.

We hope this supplement offers some pointers towards how to improve use of grass and what that can achieve in terms of lifting farm profit.


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