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Grazing Infrastructure

Grass10

Set up your farm to grow grass not silage! #Grass10

Set up your farm to grow grass not silage! Having a good farm infrastructure will allow you to graze and utilize more grass on your farm. in this short clip as part of the #Grass10 campaign, John Heslin runs through some tips on setting up a good infrastructure on your farm

In order for grazing to be successful there will be a requirement for significant investment in farm roadways, paddocks, fencing, water systems etc.  Investment on farm should be targeted at areas that increase efficiency and reduce the exposure of the business to external shocks such as lower price of product or higher price of inputs etc.  Every ton of additional grass eaten by the grazing animal will add €180/ha additional profit to a dairy farm and €105/ha additional profit to a dry stock farm. Therefore it is important that investment is prioritised into areas that will give the maximum return.  The table below summarises the potential return on investment for different investments in a dairy farm business.  The level of return to these investments is high and will also be high for the investments on drystock farms.

Table 1.  Potential return on investments for various investments in the dairy farm business based on initial performance, response and investment costs.

InvestmentCostImpactAnnual return (%)
Increase soil P & K levels P & K application of 20 and 50kg/ha +1.5 t DM/ha/year herbage growth 152
Reseed full farm in eight year cycle €650/ha + 1.5t DM/ha/year herbage growth 96
Improve grazing infrastructure €1,000/ha for roads, fencing and water + 1.0 t DM/ha/year herbage utilised 58

Teagasc has recently published a new Farm Infrastructure handbook which was available for farmers visiting the Moorepark 2017 Open Day.  Grazing infrastructure in relation to roadways, paddock layouts and water systems will be important in terms of animal performance, as it can allow more days at grass and therefore greater profitability. Dairy Farm Infrastructure Handbook