Project Leader: Debbie McConnell Project Summary: A detailed on-farm survey will be designed and distributed to dairy farmers across Northern Ireland. This project aims to better understand the barriers to improving both grass production and utilisation, and milk from forage. Project Objectives: Evaluate current farmer attitudes towards grassland production and milk from forage Consider the reasons behind the decline in milk from forage production Understand the factors affecting farmers attitudes to grassland production and utilisation and milk from forage Identify major perceived...

Project Leader: Stephanie Buijs   Project Outline: This project will use an automated thermography system that was recently installed in AFBI’s milking parlour. The +/- 240 dairy cows that are milked in this parlour will pass the system on their way back to the pasture or barn after milking (thus, twice daily). This will be combined with highly regular and systematic observation of clinical signs of disease and injury by trained staff, and with behavioural assays of stress/fear/anxiety. Cross-comparison of thermal data and clinical examination will be used to identify thermal markers for...

Project title: GrassCheck 4 – Improving grass utilisation under grazing by monitoring grass growth and through the development of a grass growth prediction model Project team: A. Dale and C. Ferris (AFBI, Hillsborough), S. Laidlaw (AFBI, Crossnacreevy), I. McCluggage, M. Mulholland and D. Mackey (CAFRE, Greenmount Campus) Duration:  21 months (April 2011 - December 2012) Background to proposal:                                   During the last 10 years (1999-2002; 2004-2006; 2007-2009) GrassCheck has provided livestock farmers in Northern Ireland with grass growth and quality information.  During...