Pasture to Profit Conference
250 young, successful, profitable, grassland farmers met at Worcester Rugby Club today to learn from each other and speakers from across the world.
Key messages from the early speakers:
Adrian Van Bysterveldt – Dairy New Zealand
- Perennial ryegrass and clover is the forage of choice.
- Utilisation is a balance between maximising grass use and optimising cow performance. Aim for 80% utilisation.
- There is a potential to grow in the UK at least 10-13t DM/ha/year if drainage is good, the right soil nutrients and new grasses sown. Up to 18t DM/ha/year.
- To harvest more grass you need to grow more.
- Investment to produce the potential yield will be more than recouped – over many years – unlike bought-in feed which once eaten has gone.
Dr Michael O’Donovan – Moorepark, Ireland
- Research has shown that farmers who use more grazed grass make more net profit.
- At Moorepark, grass growth is 18t DM/ha/year and utilisation 15t DM/ha/year.
- Grazing systems produce consistent profit able to withstand milk price volatility.
- When choosing varieties, the economically important traits are:
a) DM yield (particularly early season and autumn)
c) silage 1 and 2 cuts
- Research shows that getting the right varieties can generate €200/ha more.
- To fulfil potential farmers need to increase their grazing management skills. Self-training is important.
Come back to TalkingGrass to see more information from other speakers over the next few weeks.