4 August 2000


FEEDING cows higher quality forage has seen some herds increase milk protein by more than average this summer.

While Milk supplied to the Tipperary Co-op is 0.07% higher in protein than last summer, for six monitor herds in a Teagasc trial sponsored by the co-op it is 0.14% higher.

Speaking at the open day, Teagascs Tom ODwyer said the projects objective was to improve milk protein % for the farmers and co-ops benefit. It also aimed to identify and cut production costs.

"In the first year of the study poor quality winter fodder meant little progress was made." The knock-on effect of this was felt at turnout last year, he said.

But better quality forage last winter and an earlier turnout this spring had seen milk protein rise.

Producers in the study had also improved grazing management, he added. "There was significantly more grass available when cows went out to grass this spring because of planning last autumn." That occurred even with cows going out two weeks earlier.

He hoped that through a network of 11 discussion groups more producers would apply the technology on their farms. The project also aims to reduce production costs, which average 7.6p/litre, before family labour and finance, to 7p/litre. &#42

Improved grazing management has seen milk protein increase on monitor farms, says Tom ODwyer.

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