Dairy cattle breeding for grazing

Practice abstract


There is an decreasing demand from the practice for dairy cattle bred for roughage intake, with different targets for grazing and indoor housing. Therefore, the Grassland Centre has taken up the discussion together with the Advisory Service of Wesermarsch. From the point of view of the grassland farmers, there is currently a confusing use of different breeding types in contrast with the original breed goal. Also the breeding organizations made similar observations.

There are some challenges for grassland farmers practicing grazing management: the transition between from winter to summer ration and vice versa; a loss of Body Condition Score and milk yield. Another challenge is to keep the drive paths in good condition and to make the best out of the location factor (marsh and peat soil, udder and claw health). Other points are the calculation of the feed ration with grass, pasture, maize and concentrate feed and the aspect that fodder conservation is needed. Further, a good herd management and thoughts about the feeding- and milking regime are necessary. There are risks like parasites, acidosis, urea-, protein- and fat content, which are more difficult to manage than in stable. Thoughts about investments (whether for the stable or for the pasture) and extreme weather conditions need to be done.

The breeding associations point out that the farmers should set their breeding goals and present them to breeding organisations.

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Additional information

Farming system

conventional farming

Domains of innovation

animal type (breed), farm system, grazing management system

Main types of animal

dairy cattle



Product type

Practice abstract



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