Increasing Grazing in Dairy Cow Milk Production Systems in Europe
Hennessy, D.; Delaby, L.; van den Pol-van Dasselaar, A.; Shalloo, L.
Sustainability 12(6): 2443
In temperate regions of Europe where grass grows for most of the year, grazed pasture is the lowest cost feed for milk production. Grazed pasture can make a contribution to dairy cow feeding systems in other parts of Europe, but is less important. While there are many challenges to maintaining or increasing the proportion of grazed grass in dairy cow diets, there are also opportunities to increase its contribution. Grass use and quality can be challenging for several reasons, including the cow and sward interaction, and factors influencing dry matter intake. Adapting grazing management strategies can provide opportunities for incorporating grazing and perhaps increase grazing in dairy cow milk production systems. Pasture management tools and techniques offer the opportunity to increase herbage use at grazing. While there are many benefits of grazing including economic, environmental, animal welfare and social, there are also the challenges to maintaining grazed pasture in dairy cow diets. The objective of this paper is to present an overview of the challenges and opportunities for grazing in dairy milk production systems.