Grass Check 3 - Monitoring of grass and clover growth and sward quality across NI - D-34-07
Project title: GrassCheck - Monitoring of grass and clover growth and sward quality across Northern Ireland Project team: A. Dale, S.Mayne (AFBI, Hillsborough), D. Mackey, M Mulholland, I McCluggage (CAFRE, Greenmount Campus), S. Laidlaw (AFBI, Crossnacreevy) Duration:   3 years commencing March 2007 Background to proposal:     GrassCheck has proven over two previous programmes (1999-2002; 2004-2006), to be a user friendly and helpful guide in monitoring grass growth and adding confidence to grassland management decisions. The format was redeveloped prior to the second programme, with...

Duration 5 years Team and Leader  A. Dale, S.Mayne, C. Ferris, (ARINI, Hillsborough), A. Hopps, I. McCluggage, M.Mulholland (CAFRE), D.Anderson (Agri Food Economics Division), B Horan, P. Dillon, L. Shalloo (Teagasc) Organisations involved ARINI. Teagasc, CAFRE, AFED Background and Summary Economic pressures on milk production continue to intensify, and with large scale changes to the structure of many dairy farms inevitable following recent legislative changes, the Northern Ireland dairy industry is facing a challenging future. The diversity of milk production systems in...

Duration 3 years Team and Leader  Drs Peter Barrett, Scott Laidlaw, Sinclair Mayne and Mr Nigel Moore Organisations involved ARINI, Plant testing station, Crossnacreevy and CAFRE Background and Summary With current reductions in milk price, increased reliance on grazed grass offers one of the few opportunities to reduce production costs. However, in order to utilize grass successfully, frequent decision making is required in order to accomodate fluctuations in grass growth, both within and between seasons. Grass Check (Mark 1), which ran during 1999 - 2001, provided an...

Duration Team and Leader C S Mayne and JD Patterson Organisations Involved Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland and Greenmount College of Agriculture Background and Summary With current reductions in milk price, increased reliance on grazed grass offers one of the few opportunities to reduce milk production costs. However, successful utilization of grass requires frequent decision making in order to accommodate fluctuation in the pattern of grass growth both between and within years, in addition to changes in nutrient demands by the cow/herd through the...

Managing first lactation heifers to maximise welfare and productivity - QUB-D-40-08
Project title: Managing first lactation heifers to maximise welfare and productivity Team: Alastair Boyle (Proposed PhD student),  Supervisors: Drs Niamh O’Connell and Conrad Ferris Duration: 3 years – commencing June 2008  Organisations involved: AFBI (Hillsborough), Queens University Belfast Background to and summary of proposal: The post calving period represents a difficult time for first-lactation dairy heifers, when they experience a number of different challenges simultaneously.  In particular, the regrouping of heifers with older cows soon after calving may be particularly...