Introduction

Important questions while grazing are: what percentage of the total diet comprises grazing? What is the distance between the milking shed and pasture? How much time are you prepared to allocate to grassland management? To share some of our knowledge with you we have listed five tips for successful grazing in combination with robotic milking.

 

  1. Ensure a good infrastructure for the cows
    Cow tracks must be wide, well-maintained, and consistently accessible. Avoid creating narrow points and sharp turns where dominant cows can halt and restrict the access of less dominant cows and heifers.

  2. Unrestricted Water Access in Every Paddock
    Cows should have access to an ad libitum supply of water in paddocks and should not be required to walk more than 180 meters to reach the water source. If cows are required to walk too far for water, it can result in poor movement, such as cows grouping together, especially during hot weather, and remaining around the shed for longer periods after milking. It is important to note that research has shown that a cow's water consumption can vary depending on factors such as temperature and humidity. On average, cows may drink approximately 3 liters of water to produce 1 liter of milk.
     
  3. Limit Grazing to a Maximum of 3 Days per Paddock
    Research indicates that the optimal time to graze ryegrass pastures is during the 2 to 3-leaf stage. To prevent back-grazing, limit the time spent grazing the same paddock to no more than 3 days. Repeated, prolonged, low grazing can result in lasting damage to the plants, reducing their long-term persistence.
     
  4. Cows are more inclined to travel during daylight hours
    Therefore, graze cows in paddocks closer to the milking shed at night and allow them to travel longer distances during the day. Keep the distance between the furthest grazing paddock and the milking shed no greater than 1.5 km whenever possible.
     
  5. Adapt to Weather Changes with Flexibility
    Cold, wet weather or high temperatures, for example, are certain to affect the grazing behavior and movement of cows. Whenever possible, provide the option for cows to seek shade on hot days.

Are you interested in a good chat about grazing in combination with robotic milking? Feel free to request an obligation free-chat with one of our FMS-experts and exchange more ideas and options.

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