AgriSearch is rolling out a major province-wide survey investigating the barriers preventing beef and dairy farmers from maximising production from grass.

The survey will look at the use of both grazed grass and silage, as well as the factors preventing the uptake of new grassland management technology.

A recent study carried out by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) has indicated that the average grass utilised on Northern Ireland dairy farms is 7.5t DM/ha/year.

Important research

The same study indicated that the average grass utilised on beef farms is 4.1t DM/ha/year. This is significantly lower than the potential of modern grass varieties, which can achieve yields of up to 15t DM/ha/year.

Research has also shown that improving grass utilisation on dairy and beef farms by 1t DM/ha can increase profits by £334/ha/year and £204/ha/year respectively.

Over the coming weeks, AgriSearch will be contacting dairy and beef farmers from right across Northern Ireland asking them to participate in the study.

What’s involved?

The survey will aim to gather detailed information on the current practices employed on-farm in relation to: grazing and grassland management; attitudes to improving grass utilisation; and general knowledge on grass production.

The survey will also compile information on the challenges faced by farmers in trying to improve production from forage, as well as any future research areas which farmers feel would be beneficial to them regarding grassland efficiency.

All responses will be treated in the strictest confidence. Personal data from this study will not be shared.