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Do forage legumes have a role in modern dairy farming systems?

By D.R. Woodfield and D.A. Clark

Abstract

Intensification in New Zealand dairy farming systems has placed greater pressure on clover performance and fitness and has highlighted the need to develop clover cultivars that are better adapted to intensive grazing systems. Increased stocking rates and increased use of nitrogen fertiliser have put enormous pressure on the contribution of clover to modern dairy systems. Future innovations such as semi-hybrid cultivars offer the potential to improve the competitiveness of legumes with nitrogen-fertilised forage grasses. Similarly, advances in condensed tannin research suggest that significant animal performance gains can be achieved in conjunction with reduced environmental impact. In order to capture these benefits, dairy farmers will need to reassess their grazing management to ensure that legumes can be maintained at economically useful levels. Novel grazing management systems that optimise the benefits provided by the grass and legume components need to be used in future dairy farming systems. Forage legumes, and especially white clover, have an important role to play in modern dairy systems.peer-reviewe

Topics: Dairy cows, Genetic improvement, Grazing management, White clover
Publisher: Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:t-stor.teagasc.ie:11019/647
Provided by: T-Stór
Journal:

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