RCF-03/2017 - Improving efficiency within feed-to-yield concentrate feeding systems for dairy cows: understanding drivers of performance, milk quality, cow fertility and health
Objective Concentrate feed levels have increased on Northern Ireland dairy farms, with concentrates now comprising 60-70% of the variable costs of milk production. However, CAFRE Benchmarking data has highlighted that concentrate use efficiency on dairy farms is hugely variable, while overfeeding of concentrates contributes to the Northern Ireland phosphorus (P) surplus.  As concentrate feed levels have increased, concentrates are increasingly being offered to dairy cows on a ‘feed-to-yield’ basis, with feed levels in excess of 20 kg concentrate/cow/day not uncommon with higher...

D-82-16 - Enhancing precision within winter feeding systems for dairy cows
Objectives: The overall objective of this research programme is to introduce increased precision into concentrate allocation and management strategies for dairy cows, and to increase reliance on quality forage in dairy cow diets, through 1) an enhanced focus on individual animal data, by 2) making use of individual cow precision monitoring technologies, 3) through the development of intake prediction algorithms and, 4) by exploring the role of Mid-Infra Red Reflectance milk technology to predict animal characteristics. This overall objective will be achieved through the following...

  Efficient, innovative and sustainable heifer rearing systems: improving efficiencies through the utilisation of precision technologies and an enhanced understanding of the nutrient requirement of dairy youngstock    Background   Recent CAFRE analysis has estimated heifer rearing to cost £2,000/heifer or 6ppl of milk produced.  Calving at the optimum weight and age has shown previously (Pirlo et al., 2000) to result in improved fertility, longevity and potential lifetime performance.  However, the average age at first calving in Northern Ireland dairy herds is still estimated to be...