Intensive grazing system

Hielke de Rooij

Intensive grazing system (.pdf)



In Wadenoijen, Hielke and Hanny de Rooij run a dairy farm with 180 dairy cattle. Through tight management it can reach 7 to 8 cows per hectare on the platform. The use of rotating stand grazing is the best with the farmer and his resources. There was a relatively small platform for the number of cows. The grazing had to be efficient in order to ensure that all cows could be grazed. The construction of additional dams and cowtracks were important points of attention. Moreover, the farmer bought some new drinking troughs so every parcel has one own drinking trough. The cows are grazed in 5 plots of 4 hectares each. Every day the cows go into a new parcel. This is to keep the intake of pasture grass by the cow as constant as possible. The plots are mown separately from each other at a given moment. On the basis of the quality of the grass is determined from the disappearance in the rich owl of the cows of the young stock. Each plot is cut out twice a year. Last year the farm started grazing the milking cows on 27th of March. In total the cows have done over 200 days of grazing.

Reason for the innovation

The strategy of the farmer is based on maximum grass from al small platform. He liked when the cows are outside.

  • Achievements: For the next year the farmer pursue a higher production of the grassland
  • Failures: enough grass growth for the cows
  • Results: A licence to produce

Farm description


  • Soil: Clay
  • Climate: Temperate oceanic
  • Altitude: ±sea level
  • Slope: flat

Grassland management

  • Grazing: Yes
  • Grazing management: Rotational stocking
  • Length of grazing periode: 7 months/year
  • Main composition grassland: Perennial ryegrass, Italian ryegrass, meadow fescue, red clover


  • Annual work units (AWU): 3
  • Agricultural Area 97 ha UAA
    • Permanent grassland 76 ha
    • Temporary grassland 10 ha
    • Green forage area 11 ha
  • Production method Conventional
  • Stock
    • 177 dairy cows
    • 110 young stock
  • Breed Holstein-Friesian and Jersey

Animal performance

  • Milk production: 9000 kg/year

Why it is working

The innovation is successful on this farm because:

  • It is an easy system.
  • The farmer has more milk from grass.
  • The grass production is high.
  • The job satisfaction for the farmer is great.
  • Grass growth is good for this type of cows.

Additional information

Farming system

conventional farming

Domains of innovation

landscape, legume management – Perennial legumes, marketing

Main types of animal

dairy cattle


The Netherlands

Product type

Farmer portrait



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