The importance of annual forage crops to arable cropping rotations has increased with growth of the dairy industry. Annual forages are primarily grown as a feed supplement for grazing animals when pasture growth is limited or to extend lactation. By feeding cows forage crops through the winter, pasture productivity is conserved and the risk of nutrient loss is minimalised. Research at FAR focuses on optimising the integration and management of forage crops in cropping rotations to maximise productively and whole-system profitability.
Impacts of dairy grazing
Development of risk management strategies for factors of intensive winter grazing. The major concerns farmers have are around the impact on crop yields, soil recovery time between grazing crops and nutrient loss issues. In this Sustainable Farming Fund project, FAR has worked with 21 case study farms across the country to understand the risks associated with winter grazing. More...
Forages for reduced nitrate leaching
FAR is a research partner in Forages for Reduced Nitrate Leaching, a six-year programme aimed at reducing nitrate leaching losses by 20 percent by delivering proven, adoptable and profitable pasture and forage crop options. Dairy, arable and sheep and beef farms are involved in this cross-sector project which is focusing on three areas – alternative pasture species, crops and farm systems.
For more information about the work being carried out in the Forages for reduced nitrate leaching programme, see the FRNL website.