Pasture management strategies for high yielding dairy cows

Aims & Objectives
To determine factors which influence the behaviour and performance of high yielding dairy cows at grass and to optimise their intake of pasture.

To determine the effects of timing of pasture access and how this interacts with a buffer-fed TMR on the performance of dairy cows.

To determine if the age at which dairy cattle are first exposed to pasture (either in their first or second year of age) has any effect on their subsequent motivation to access pasture.

To provide information on the effects of different supplementation strategies on the performance of grazing cows.

Expected Outcomes

  • New information on grazing management strategies for high yielding dairy cows and enhanced understanding of the complex, inter-related factors that affect optimal use of pasture by high-yielding dairy animals.
  • Scientifically based evidence to underpin development of grazing and pasture access management strategies that optimise the use of grass by high-yielding dairy cattle, ensuring their nutritional requirements are met, at the same time promoting their health and welfare, and ensuring consumer confidence in the dairy industry.

Start Date     
June 2011             

Completion Date
September 2014

Lead Contractor
University of Nottingham - Research Partnership study 

Other Delivery Partners
University of Reading, Harper Adams University, SRUC, Royal Veterinary College, Aberystwyth University

AHDB Dairy

Scientific literature
Boyle, L.A. and Rutter S.M. 2013. Comparison of the welfare of dairy cows in ‘pasture based’ and ‘zero grazed’ milk production systems. Proceedings of a joint BSAS/BGS meeting on ‘Profitable and Sustainable Grazing Systems – Moving Forward with Science’. Great Malvern, 26-27 February 2013, p11-14.

Motupalli, P.R., Rutter, S.M., Bleach, E., Sinclair, L.A. 2012. The effect of herbage allowance on day-time preference of dairy cows to be indoors or at pasture. Proceedings of the British Society of Animal Science, Nottingham, UK, 24-25  April 2012 p1

Rutter, S.M., Mufungwe, J., Atkins, N.E., Birch, S.A. and Sinclair, L.A. 2013. The effect of being outdoors during the day or night on walking and lying behaviour in dairy cows. Proceedings of the 47th Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology, Florianopolis, Brazil, 2-6 June 2013, p112

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