Can you utilise more grass? Meet farmers in Ireland’s latest research project

Global grass seed breeding company DLF has launched a ‘grass partner programme’, in order to “increase and optimise utilisation” of grass production on dairy farms.

The programme, ‘More Milk with DLF’, works with three different dairy farmers around the country. The farmers will use the company’s latest varieties of grass, whilst taking advice on grassland management.

The aim is to achieve increased farm profit through improved grass utilisation.

General Manager of DFL Ireland Paul Flanagan said: “We’re really excited to give farmers participating in this programme customised grassland management advice.”

Also speaking at the launch was Michael O’Donovan, Head of Grassland Research at Teagasc, Moorepark.

“Maximising grassland utilisation is what we’re about and is undoubtedly the most profitable way to produce milk. Ireland has an advantage on a global scale with the amount of grass we can grow and utilise,” he said.

The participating farmers gain access to the “latest varieties of top-performing grass species”. This, says DLF, will encourage farmers to increase the amount of land reseeded on their respective land blocks.

Meet the farmers

David Thomas

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David Thomas (right) is making the switch from beef to dairy

David Thomas is a young farmer from Co. Offaly. Thomas has recently finished studying Agricultural Science in UCD and is in the process of converting from beef to dairy.

He plans to reseed up to 50% of the farm in the next 3-4 years in order to “produce milk mainly from a grass-based diet”.

Eamonn Kent

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Eamonn Kent (right) aims to hold cow numbers at 120

Eamonn Kent, a dairy farmer from Co. Waterford, aims to hold cow numbers at 120 but, at the same time, improve grassland management in order to get a better performance and return from his cows.

The criteria looked at before reseeding here will include: analysing lime, macro and micro-nutrient requirements; soil type; what the field will be used for; and what variety will be best suited to this.

David Hunter

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David Hunter (right) only entered dairying four years ago

David Hunter, a dairy farmer from Co. Tyrone, only entered dairying four years ago. He has grown his herd to 80 cows and has grown 15t DM/ha in 2016.

Hunter hopes to improve his grassland management skills through the project.

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