The True Value of Grazed Grass

Jan 18, 11:28 AM

This week we're joined by Michael Dineen, who explains the research investigating the true value of grazed grass, identifying the limiting nutrients available to grazing dairy cows. 

Michael takes an in-depth look at the different components of the grass plant including the protein content (Crude Protein, CP) and fibre content (Neutral Detergent Fibre, NDF). 

He highlights the nutritional quality of grass and the competitive advantage arising from the ability to grow and utilise large quantities of grazed grass over a long grazing season. 

Notwithstanding that, Michael explains that some nutrients are limiting in the dairy cow diet at various times of the year. For example, in the Spring, dry matter intake is low and therefore energy intake can be a limiting factor to milk production for many cows. 

Moving into the mid-season, Michael talks about the pre-grazing herbage mass of 1,500 kg DM/ha. He explains it is a balance between quality and quantity, beyond 1,500 kg the fibre of the grass plans increases and becomes less digestible and below 1,500 kg annual grass production declines. 

Micheal suggests that where we have a greater understanding, we can target specific concentrate ingredients to balance dairy cow requirements. 

Finally, Michael explains a greater understanding of the components of grazed grass offers the ability to improve dairy cow performance, reseed with specific grass variety and reduce environmental footprint.

For more information:

https://www.teagasc.ie/media/website/publications/2018/New-Insights-to-the-Feeding-Value-of-Grazed-Pasture---National-Dairy-Conference.pdf