27 farmers and advisors from North Germany travelled according to the topic “The Irish way of grazing” to several commercial and research farms in Ireland. At the end of the journey the participants compared based on a strengths and weaknesses- analysis the grazing systems in Ireland with the common system in Northern Germany.
In Ireland, grazing management is part of agricultural education. There are offers for discussion groups to have an exchange with other farmers and advisory services too. They manage their grazing with tools and systems based on their growth rate data. Their system is less vulnerable to dairy crises and less dependent on protein feed imports. On the other hand, the indoor animal welfare standard and biodiversity level are lower than in Germany. The Irish dairy market is very dependent on export because of low variety of production branches on the farm.
In Germany, buildings are in good condition and high quality silage is produced. The standards to control animal welfare and to control food are also high. German farms often have diverse production systems like agritourism as an additional production branches. But there is a limited knowledge about grazing because the agricultural education does not focus on it. There is not much information about different grazing systems and not a big market for grazing equipment like measurement tools and no system to analyse growth data. The high standard of buildings and technologies means high investment costs and thus strong economic vulnerability during crises times.
Abstract also available in: