Animal performance with fresh grass feeding

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.

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