Systems Research Herd Project
Background: It is widely recognised that grass-based systems offer a competitive advantage and will predominate in Ireland. However, grazing systems that have been developed to utilise large quantities of grazed grass have in the main been based on low output per cow. In this scenario, high levels of profitability are possible through avid cost control and comparatively high stocking rates for grazing systems. There are now reasons to consider the development of grazing systems that are based on high-output per cow. These reasons include (i) concerns about increasing dairy cow numbers and environmental emissions, (ii) facilitating farm expansion post EU-milk quota removal for land limited and fragmented farms, (iii) lack of available skilled labour on farms to deal with expanding animal numbers. The rationale for this research is that a high output grass-based spring milk production system can be profitable when built on a foundation of good grassland management and meeting both milk and fertility targets and has a place in a sustainable Irish dairy industry.
This project is funded by Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership Programme which is co-funded by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020. Funding for a Postdoctoral Research Fellow was received from Teagasc. Industry stakeholders connected with this significant project include: Dairymaster, Devenish Nutrition, FBD, Glanbia, Irish Friesian Holstein Association, Munster Cattle Breeding Group and Progressive Genetics. Three year new research work for Systems Research Herd is now funded by Dairy Research Ireland until Dec. 2021.