Combining grazing with high milk production

Practice abstract


To combine grazing with high milk production, flexible feeding systems are needed that cost-effectively integrate supplementary nutrients into the diets of cows grazing pasture. These so-called hybrid systems are profitable options to reach a high production per cow and per ha under grazing with increased flexibility and resilience, if properly designed and managed. Dutch scientists, farmers, students and teachers were inspired by a talk of Mr. Hugo Quattrochi that explained this system for Argentina, which has almost similar weather and climate conditions as north western Europe. The scene was set in an inspirational speech (, and further discussed during a workshop ( For high yielding dairy cows, it is important to focus on intake during grazing, since intake (energy) drives production. Pasture allowance is the key factor. Too much pasture allowance equals well-fed cows, low grass utilization and often poor pasture quality, while too little results in hungry cows, excellent pasture quality, less milk and higher grass utilization. In order to combine grazing with high milk production, effective use of pasture and supplements is needed. It is the art and science of balancing the needs of the cow with the needs of the pasture, now and in the future. Supplements are used to be in control of the cow (increase dry matter intake, increase efficiency of rumen fermentation) and to be in control of the pasture (fill feed gaps, keep residuals on target). In this way, a hybrid system (maximum grazing in combination with supplementary feeding when needed) leads to maximum use of fresh grass for milk production and cost-efficient production.

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Additional information

Farming system

conventional farming, organic farming

Domains of innovation

grazing management system

Main types of animal

dairy cattle


The Netherlands

Product type

Practice abstract



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