Hi Just wondering is anyone using a zero grazing machine or whats peoples opionons,
and as a means to increase herd size would it work, say for example if you were grazing a cow per acre with a normal system,
how many cows per acre could you carry if you were feeding indoors and zerograzing?
i think its a fantastic concept which provides great options for those on fragmented farms and who wish to continue with high yielding cows while utilising grass to its full potential
Thats why i'm just wondering about it my self i'm not one of the lucky ones to have a hugh number of acres in one block, there would want to be getting good returns from one when you could be spending around 30k to get one
Suppose it depends on the type of ground your on, the length of grazing season etc. would you be able to get out with a machine early/late in year? Where you thinking of housing cattle all year round? if so, fertiliser use would increase when mowing all the time and also capacity of tanks could be an issue?
It would be good ground, and hopefully it would extend the grazing season, no i wasnt thinking of housing the cattle all year round just as a means to increase numbers, maybe out grazing by day and housed by night, i know slurry storage would be an issue but surly it would have a positive effect by using this to replace fertilizer, putting out a few loads on each block that has been cut for example, i suppose injection would be required so it wouldnt taint the grass maybe?
Cant ever see the Tesco's and Dunne's and Aldi's of this world, ever paying enoughg money per unit of output of any farm product, to ever justify bringing grass into cattle when they can go get it for themselves.
There is a billion and one ways to increase cost on farm, through fixed cost investment, buildings, machinery etc,.
At the point where the farmer sells his product, he is generally faced with buyers who do not compete with each other
You get the same LOW price for milk or beef give or take nothing where ever you go.
Bringing in fresh grass to the cow has to be cost increase method number one billion and two, in my estimate.
I worked on a dairy farm in Germany in the late 80's and they zero grazed, mowed and then picked up with a forage wagon, single chopped. It was a lot of work each day, but the efficency in terms of grass and land utilisation and milk output was amazing. But it was a lot of hard work, 5am starts with the mower and forager, but no wasted grassland, beautiful fast regrowth, and allowed excellent management of the acres. Quite a small acreage supported a large dairy enterprise.(But a LOT of hard work)
If its good ground it would extend the grazing season alright..and as mentioned above it would significantly increase both grass growth potential, utilization and quality! slurry would be a good substitute for fertiliser alright, at the right time of year.. it has plenty of P and K but might be a bit slack on N if the ground is being cut all the time. Ya injection would probably be the way to go. I seen a few trailing shoe jobs last year and wasn't that impressed at all when you compare to the shallow injection! Iv seen some publications saying you can get up to 20% more grass from zero grazing which sounds fairly healthy!
Thanks for the info, i suppose the ideal setup would be a robotic milking machine and the hour you save from milking would be spend getting in the grass, i like the fact a small acerage supported a bigger herd, which is where the biggest problem is for us the size of the grazing block around the farm yard, i see in the farmers journal this week a man is using a dedicated machine which would save time on mowing then picking up but you would need good returns to pay for it
20% more grass wouldn't be too bad, havent seen any contractors around here with the injection system yet, and i know i would't be able to afford it but looking at the journal the man in monaghan seems to be getting on ok with the splash plate by spreading at the right time, plus we have a small tanker which would be ideal for just getting out a load or two on the strips freshly cut, I know there is a higher cost to all these things so sums would have to be done to see do the benifits out weigh them
good article in this week's Journal
not sure why posters think the trailing show would be nesscesery within a zero grazing system , would have thought the opposite was the case , afterall , the ground would be mowed clean so no grass to soil when slurry spreading
wouldn't have thought it would be like you say you would be cutting the grass low enough, but havin said that i don't think you skin it like you do with silage so maybe there would be some contamination
wonder what is the cycle between cuttings would it be the same as grazing paddocks or a bit longer
Where I was they used to skin it with a disc mower and it got slurry as soon as a sufficently wide strip was mown(1 2m strip of the field used to feed the cows for a day) - the biggest job was doling the cut grass out to the cows, and there was no robot, the cows were tethered and milked with a single head milking unit - very labour intensive, but they certainly made money - they had a standard of living farmers here in ireland could only dream of - the big house, a couple of mercs in the drive, but by g. they worked hard - 5am starts 7 days, very very low tech, but very well mechanised - a fleet(8)of IH 4wd tractors and all the latest tackle. Every year without fail a new shed went up, wether a grain store or a calf house. I am not sure I would fancy the hard graft that was involved day in and day out, but it worked well for them. they had just an ordinary slurry spreader, and a side slinger muck spreader that they used to spread the solids that were hand forked to the midden twice daily. All the women worked at the milking and the mucking etc, as well as the men, it was a real family enterprise, and they did (and still do) well at it, but it was a big commitment.
I presume the cows were housed all year round, by reading this if the set up was correct it wouldnt be too labour intensive, was there much waste on the grass that was brought in or would it be all eaten