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      Ruminant grassland production systems in Ireland

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          Abstract

          In Ireland grazing systems provide the basis of sustainable livestock production, as grazed grass is the cheapest feed source of nutrients for ruminants. The main future objective for these systems is to achieve high grass utilisation, ensure system sustainability and maintain extremely high animal health and welfare. There is no reason why all three cannot be combined. Ireland’s national farm policy targets growth in exports to €19 billion per annum by 2025. This figure represents an 85% increase from the current 3 yr average. There are major improvements required in the areas of grassland management and its conversion into milk and meat to fulfil such a target. While every farm situation is unique due to varying soil types, climatic conditions, stocking rates and management capabilities, herbage production and utilisation is below optimum on most farms. Irish farms, especially dairy farms, are expanding and will continue to do so over the next number of years. Increasing stocking rates and more compact calving and lambing has resulted in increased spring feed demand. Extra grass needs be grown and utilised in this period to minimise the use of supplementary feed. This paper outlines the importance of grassland on Irish farms, and where farms can improve grassland management, to increase output, lower farm costs and improve further farm system sustainability.

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          Most cited references 13

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          Development and application of an economic ranking index for perennial ryegrass cultivars

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            Genetic gain in perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) varieties 1973 to 2013

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              PastureBase Ireland: A grassland decision support system and national database

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                ijafr
                ijafr
                Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research
                IJAFR
                Compuscript (Ireland )
                0791-6833
                12 January 2021
                Affiliations
                1Teagasc, Animal and Grassland Innovation Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland
                2Teagasc, Animal and Grassland Innovation Centre, Athenry, Co. Galway, Ireland
                Author notes
                †Corresponding author: M. O’Donovan, E-mail: michael.odonovan@ 123456teagasc.ie
                Article
                10.15212/ijafr-2020-0118
                Copyright © 2021 O’Donovan, Hennessy, and Creighton

                This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 IE.

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 4, References: 23, Pages: 8
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