Grazing strategies for future dairy farms: an economic and environmental perspective
Grazing of dairy cattle is decreasing in the Netherlands, as well as in other European countries. This trend in grazing is associated with trends in farm characteristics towards more intensive dairy farms, i.e. an increase in herd size, stocking rate, milk yield per cow and use of automatic milking systems. These trends are expected to continue due to the abolishment of the milk quota in 2015. Grazing of dairy cattle, however, promotes an animal-friendly image for dairy production, and contributes to landscapes that are highly appreciated by the Dutch public. In addition, grazing has the potential to increase economic and environmental performances of dairy farms. In this project, therefore, we aim to identify grazing strategies that optimize the economic and environmental performance of future dairy farms.