Grazing – valuable for more milk and less costs

Description

Grazing management gives much milk at low costs

Kårtorp is an organic farm where the dairy cows do a lot of grazing. Therefore it was important to plan grazing carefully before farm expansion.
The cows are let out in April–May. Recently milked cows are let out directly from the robot. Every morning they are given new grass. An attractive feed attracts the cows. The area is strip-grazed the whole season. If the grass grows too fast, a cut of silage is made. During the summer, the pasture is mowed on average three times.

Milk production increases in early season, especially in May and June. To avoid a yield de-crease later in the summer, in 2017 the farm started to irrigate its pastures.

Having a fertilisation strategy for the grassland is also important. Kieserite, which gives extra sulphur, improves grass yield.

Reason for the innovation

Skilled grazing management is profitable and important in organic production

Structured work, cooperation and communication on targets are the driving forces for the farm’s work with dairy cows and grazing paddocks.

Farm description

Environment

  • Soil types: Silt loam and loam
  • Climate: Temperate continental climate
  • Altitude: 110 m a.s.l
  • Slope: 0 %
  • The farm is located in Västergötland, south-west Sweden.

Grassland management

  • Grazing: Yes!
  • Temporary grassland with white clover, perennial ryegrass, timothy and tall fescue.
  • Extra white clover and ryegrass for grazing.

Structure

  • Annual Work Unit:  6
  • Organic production
  • 240 ha arable land area, of which
    • 140 ha temporary grassland area.
  • 39 ha semi-natural grassland area and 6 ha under restoration.

Animal performance

  • 210 dairy cows (Swedish Red), producing 10,400 kg milk per year, plus 48 beef-cross heifers.

Why it is working

It was important to consider planning of grazing paddocks and grassland management at the time of expansion. Cow numbers increased and there is strong demand for cows to graze in KRAV-certified organic production. It is also important to work together to meet targets. The staff are positive and know what to do.

Additional information

Farming system

organic farming

Domains of innovation

grazing management system

Main types of animal

dairy cattle

Country

Sweden

Product type

Farmer portrait

Language

English, Swedish

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