AFBI evaluates the impact of concentrate feeding levels during grazing

Date published: 29 May 2018

Research at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) has shown that whilst milk production of high yielding cows at grass can exceed 30l/day over the spring and summer periods, in reality milk production from grazed grass alone rarely exceeds on average 25l/day (Figure 1). The area highlighted in yellow in Figure 1 is the nutritional deficit that occurs when high yielding cows are offered grass only.

This deficit can be met through concentrate or forage supplements which also help to ensure that cows do not suffer excessive body condition loss during lactation. With many cows out to grass in recent weeks the key question on many producer’s minds presently is: ‘How can we optimise milk production from grass?’

Figure 1. Theoretical milk from grass – AFBI research will demonstrate how theory can be delivered on farm
Figure 1. Theoretical milk from grass – AFBI research will demonstrate how theory can be delivered on farm
This question, and many others concerning supplementation at grass will be addressed during the AFBI Dairy Innovation 2018 Open Day at AFBI Hillsborough on 6th June.

AFBI’s Dairy Innovation 2018 Open Day on the Hillsborough research farm will not only provide an opportunity to learn about managing dairy cows at pasture and what supplementation strategies to employ but visitors will also be able to meet and talk with researchers and view studies that are ongoing in a wide range of areas.  Additional demonstrations at the Open Day will cover the areas of soil health, grass silage production, winter feeding, herd health, fertiliser and slurry management.  In addition to a central tour of exhibitions, there will be four specialist ‘Focus Areas’ where visitors will have the opportunity to spend time learning about the latest innovations. 

These four Focus Areas will be located around the farm and will feature:

  1. ‘Green Green Grass for Home’, - Growing and using grass: from soil health, compaction, precision technology, grass varieties to optimum grazing covers and zero grazing
  2. ‘Where there’s Muck there’s Value’ - Nutrient management and anaerobic digestion including slurry separation technology
  3. ‘Investing in the Next Generation’ - Dairy genetics, calf and heifer management from birth to adulthood.  This area will also include the latest AFBI research on dairy bred beef production
  4. ‘Good Health - Prevention Better than Cure’ - Herd health, mastitis, lameness and milking protocols 

There will also be the opportunity to talk with representatives from AgriSearch, CAFRE, UFU, Ulster Grassland Society, Land Mobility Scheme, Health and Safety Executive as well as the PSNI and many others.

The Open Day on 6th June has the theme Dairy Innovation 2018 - Profiting from AFBI Research.  So come and profit from a day talking to AFBI’s researchers and many others to bring the latest innovations back to the home farm. For more information on the event visit or T: 028 9025 5636

In the interests of biosecurity those attending are asked to wear clean clothing not previously worn while in direct contact with their own animals. Outdoor workboots should not be worn. Protective overalls and footwear will be provided.


Notes to editors: 

Visitors to the AFBI Dairy Innovation 2018 event that is taking place on 6th June 2018 at Hillsborough will learn how AFBI’s scientific advances in animal health are supporting the local dairy industry.

AFBI carries out high quality technology research and development, statutory, analytical, and diagnostic testing functions for DAERA and other Government departments, public bodies and commercial companies.

AFBI's Vision “Advancing the Local and Global Agri-Food Sectors Through Scientific Excellence”.

All media enquiries to AFBI Press Office

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