Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

Comparison of rotational and continuous grazing for dairy cows

Two different pasture utilisation systems – rotational versus continuous – were compared during the grazing seasons of the years 1995 – 98, each with a herd of 24 dairy cows of mixed age and stage of lactation, including dry cows. The two herds were split again into two groups each which were fed different supplements in-barn: either up to 5 kg dry matter (DM) of maize silage per animal per day or hay and grain mix to provide the same energy supply. Additional grain mix was offered at high milk production level.<br><br>Mean daily milk production results show that neither grazing system nor type of supplementation had a significant effect. Lactation curves during the grazing season were similar in either system. Milk fat and protein content were not different between treatments. A calculation of production potential per hectare of pasture used revealed better results for rotational grazing, but the yearly variation was considerable.

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