Discover the true potential of grass through DairyCo

Published 13 March 09

Discover the true potential of grass through DairyCo

DairyCo has set up a study to measure the quality and consistency of well managed grazed grass until the end of the grazing season.

The Grass and Grazing Analysis project measures the grass energy and protein levels fortnightly and growth rates weekly on eight farms across the UK, from Dumfries to Devon, and results are being posted on the DairyCo website.  The results will enable farmers to benchmark their own grass analyses with the ones shown on the DairyCo website.

Piers Badnell, DairyCo extension officer for the south west is behind the project: "The aim is to demonstrate the true potential of grazed grass and its consistency in terms of energy and protein if managed well.  The farms picked for this season's measurements are examples of excellent grassland management.

"Growth rates will be measured using a rising plate meter weekly. The figure presented by each of the farms is an average of four designated paddocks in the rotation that are representative of the farm and hold their place in the rotation well.

"By looking at the results farmers will be able to see how much milk can potentially come from grass, and can then maybe get some of their own grass analysed and see how it compares," Piers says.  "A test is about £12 so potentially it's a really good investment.

"Farmers would never feed silage in the winter ration without some idea of its worth and we should be taking the same approach with grazed grass. Your management can have an effect on the content and persistence of ME and CP in grass, the only part of the analysis you can't control is the dry matter but these fluctuations can be managed if you know your ME and CP and manage your grass well.

Visit the DairyCo website at www.dairyco.net to follow the project. 
Find out more about grazing and grassland management at a DairyCo feeding+ event, or learn more by joining one of the Milking Grass for Profit walks, organised by the British Grassland Society with support from RABDF and DairyCo.  Details for all of the above can be found on the DairyCo website at www.dairyco.org.uk

Ends

Date 18 March 2009

Notes for Editors:
Farms participating in the project are in:  Devon, Sussex, Leicestershire, Gwynedd, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Yorkshire and Dumfries.

For further information:
N:    Helen Bond
T:    01285 646544
E:    helen.bond@dairyco.org.uk

About DairyCo
DairyCo's current focus is on improving the profitability of dairy farming by focusing on four specific areas:
•    The provision of a world-class information service
•    Helping dairy farmers increase their profits while meeting regulatory and environmental requirements - through better business management.
•    Helping promote the positive perception of dairy products and dairy farming with the general public
•    The development of DairyCo towards a self-sustaining model.

DairyCo is funded entirely by milk producers, via a statutory levy on all milk sold off-farm, at the rate of 0.06p per litre.  This provides an annual income of around £7m.
DairyCo co-funds the industry's nutritional and issues management resource - The Dairy Council - with the processors' trade body Dairy UK.
DairyCo Limited was set up in April 2008 following a fundamental review of agricultural levy boards by Defra. The five existing levy boards (including the Milk Development Council) were replaced by one statutory levy board, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).
Reporting in to AHDB are six sector companies - DairyCo covers the milk sector.