Partial grazing with indoor feeding of fresh grass is an important feeding system for Swiss dairy farms. From 2014 to 2016, three production systems – partial grazing with indoor feeding of fresh grass with reduced (EGKF; 418 kg), and increased concentrate supplementation (EGKFplus; 1161 kg) was compared with full-time grazing with reduced concentrate supplementation (FG; 93 kg) on 36 pilot farms in Switzerland. The EGKF farms had average annual yields of 7218 kg energy-corrected milk (ECM), the EGKFplus farms 8457 kg ECM and the FG farms 6268 kg ECM per cow. Animals with comparable daily milk yields received very different amounts of concentrate in the three production systems. The EGKF and EGKFplus farms produced 1.0 kg more ECM per kg of concentrate used. With 2.15 kg ECM per 10 MJ net energy lactation (NEL), the EGKFplus farms were more efficient in terms of energy utilisation than the other two systems (EGKF: 2.00; FG: 1.90). There were no significant differences among the three systems regarding milk compounds and fertility indicators. With high ration ratios of fresh grass fodder, high milk yields are possible with comparatively (for Switzerland) moderate concentrate use.
Which stakeholders in the dairy sector have an influence on the productive life of dairy cows? Research results from FiBL and Agroscope suggest that broad-based cooperation is needed to create structures for a longer productive life.
Agriculture is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions. Agroscope showed that for dairy cattle housing, feed composition plays a role in these emissions as well as wind and temperature.
Lazzari G., Münger A., Eggerschwiler L., Borda-Molina D., Seifert J., Camarinha-Silva A., Schrade S., Zähner M., Zeyer K., Kreuzer M., Dohme-Meier F.
Tannin-containing feedstuffs like Acacia mearnsii and sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) have a measurable impact in reducing methane emissions from dairy cows. However, since these feedstuffs in some cases lead to productivity losses, careful consideration must be given to their use.