Milking Grass for Profit: find out how to ……

Dairy producers will be able to find out how to make more from forage during these challenging times by attending two ‘Milking Grass for Profit’ farm walks organised by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers, the British Grassland Society and DairyCo.

Thursday 23 April; Carreg Y Llech Farm, Treuddyn, Mold 

Ed Morgan will introduce his family’s 220 cow Holstein herd which is currently averaging 8,200 litres and explain how he made the transition four years ago from all-year round to  autumn block calving in an attempt to maximise the use of grazed grass. Stocking is kept tight at 3.7 LU/ha however one of the unit’s main challenges is the fact Carreg Y Llech lies at 260m (850’), so early spring growth cannot be guaranteed. The whole farm has been soil tested enabling the Morgans to optimise the use of nutrients from slurry and target fertiliser purchases more meticulously, while careful use of reseeding ensures that each acre performs as well as it can.

Topics for discussion will include

  1. Transition to autumn calving - simplifying systems to maximise forage utilisation 
  2. System management – structuring the business to cope with the current extreme market volatility; not chasing yield per cow for marginal litres at all costs
  3. Reseeding – optimising sward quality and target utilised grass, cut or grazed
  4. Soil analysis – back to basics to make the most of your resources

Tuesday 28 April: Lydney Park Estate, Mile Bridge Dairy, Aylburton, Gloucestershire 

Farm manager, Gavin Green will discuss his 880 cows managed in two separate herds, milked once a day and averaging 4,000 litres with 350kg milk solids. He will explain how the estate took radical steps in 2007 to begin the transition from a high input 420 cow Holstein herd milked three times a day to New Zealand genetics managed on a low input grass based system. Current stocking is at 2.5 cows/ha, the grazing platform features a rotational paddock system, supplemented with fodder beet and deferred grass. Grass growth is measured weekly with budget programmes used to ensure the best use. Last year Gavin grew 14.4t dry matter per hectare enabling target concentrate use to be reduced to 200kg to 250kg per cow.

Topics for discussion will include

  • Business evolution - changing system to get off the treadmill and maximise profit 
  • Obsessive grassland management, the key driver for success and profitable system
  • Breeding the right animal - fertility is the number one goal 
  • Managing financial risk 

RABDF chief executive, Nick Everington commented: “This event will provide all dairy farmers, whatever their strategy, with the opportunity to question their management systems and how they can seriously make more from grass, the cheapest form of forage, to enable them to cope with the current volatile marketplace.”

Registration is essential, please visit