Duration 12 months from January 2004 Team and Leader D.C. Patterson Organisations Involved Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland and Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland Background and Summary There is currently an increasing interest in the production of alternative forage crops for feeding to high yielding dairy cows. This reflects both the potentially lower production costs per unit of energy associated with some alternative forage crops and the ability of some of these crops to increase total dry matter intake and improve milk...

Duration  Team and Leader R Agnew Organisations Involved Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland, Scottish Agricultural Colleges and ADAS Background and Summary The present systems of rationing dairy cattle (metabolisable energy and metabolisable protein systems) were put in place some time ago. These systems have major limitations, as they do not accurately predict how the dairy cow reacts to alteration in feed supply (energy or protein) and quality. The present proposal is a United Kingdom wide initiative designed to develop a new feeding system, which can...

Duration Team and Leader  Dr D.C. Patterson and Steven Morrison Organisations involved ARINI, Hillsborough Background and Summary It is often assumed that grazed grass is the cheapest forage available in Northern Ireland. However, recent costings suggest that grazed grass may not be as competitive as other forages, primarily as a result of poor pasture utilisation under grazing. The Northern Ireland dairy sector is a grass based production system but two key principles have been highlighted which need to be considered in developing grass-based systems.  If the grazing...

Duration Team and Leader FJ Gordon, CS Mayne, and DC Patterson Organisations involved Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland Background and Summary In view of the benefits of increasing yield per cow on improved feed efficiency and reduced fixed costs per litre of milk there is continued interest in increasing the genetic merit of the National dairy herd. Recent research at Hillsborough has however demonstrated that higher milk outputs (even with higher genetic merit animals) can only be sustained by increasing feed nutrient intake.  Achieving this objective is...

Duration  Team and Leader  A.Carson (ARINI) Organisations Involved Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland (A Carson, F J Gordon, A R G Wylie) Veterinary Sciences Division, DANI (J.E. McEvoy), 11 Northern Ireland milk producers Background and Summary Feeding and management during the heifer rearing period has a major impact on subsequent animal performance, health and welfare. The systems for rearing dairy herd replacements presently adopted were developed from research carried out 30 years ago. Since then the genetic merit of the Northern Ireland diary herd has...