Grazing and automated milking can be combined, despite the fact that some farmers fear that this would complicate grassland management. On 15-19 June the European Grassland Federation held its symposium entitled "Grassland and forages in high output dairy farming systems" in Wageningen, The Netherlands. At this event, a specific workshop ‘Grazing and Automation’ brought together researchers, agribusiness, advisers and farmers to share methods and tools which can enable farmers to apply automated milking technology whilst keeping the cows out in the field.
Speakers from www.autograssmilk.eu and others showed how new technologies can support grazing systems. For example, they demonstrated how sensors can be put on cows to count their steps and monitor grazing behaviour. The information can be translated into data on grass availability and helps farmers to manage their grasslands. Read more here.
Irish researchers and farmers worked together to use real time farm data. Comparing grass and herd performance helps farmers in making decisions in their grassland management.
www.amazinggrazing.eu showed their vision for 2030 of grazing related to automated milking. Together with farmers from several European countries Dutch dairy farmers are looking for possibilities to maintain grazing in a high productive system using automated milking. Ideas on "How do I graze without working extra hours?", "How do I get a grass intake per day as high and constant as possible?", "How do we ensure that the yield of the pasture is higher with grazing compared to mowing?" "How do you offer a complete ration ‘at strain’ by grazing?" and "How can we manage the impact of the weather?" were presented.