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NI Farmers Meet to Discuss Summer Management

20 May 2009

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - Over 40 Country Tyrone Dairy Farmers recently met on the farm of Thomas John and Gerry Doris, Coagh to discuss summer management of their dairy herds.

Excellent lane ways and cow tracks on the Doris farm have allowed a large herd of cows to graze - even during difficult weather conditions - with minimal sward damage, reports Albert Johnston, Dairy Development Adviser, CAFRE.

The herd was averaging 15 litres from forage on the day – achieved through daytime grazing and silage only at night. All concentrate was being fed through the milking parlour.

This was helping to avoid low yielding cows being overfed. There is the potential to get 23 litres from forage with 24 hour grazing when weather conditions improve.

A surplus of grass was developing on the Doris farm due to the limited grazing this year. Strategies for managing this surplus were discussed by the group. Paddocks to be taken out for silage should be cut early so that they can be brought back into the grazing rotation sooner. Farmers were encouraged to benchmark both the physical and financial performance of their herds. There is potential for large savings to be made on dairy farms through improved forage utilisation.

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