Efficient grassland management has been the bedrock of success in the dairy sector and it is a template that other sectors should follow, according to Teagasc Director Gerry Boyle.

“The bedrock of our economic success in dairying is the utilisation of grass. Once the farmers had utilised grass to the optimum, that is the bedrock of their economic efficiency – using the cheapest source of feed.”

Boyle highlighted that further down the road there is huge potential around information technology and managing the data that we are now able to capture form our farming operations.

“This is medium to longer term visionary stuff. Up to now the most obvious manifestation was in the breeding area. It’s phenomenal what ICBF do with information, but there is huge potential here and we want to be at the forefront in assisting the sectors with this information. We think the same potential exists in grass-based systems for information capture.”

Boyle stressed that its latest tool in grassland research PastureBase Ireland is a big project for Teagasc. “We have detailed readings for grass data all over Ireland. The same principles will apply as with ICBF. We envisage we will publish regular updates of grass growth and a farmer can identify his own farm online and compare the grass growth in other areas and benchmark his performance. That will be supplemented by satellite grass readings.”