Future increases in production efficiency of milk production from pasture will be brought about primarily by increasing the genetic potential of cows to produce milk solids, and by developing grazing systems which combine a high level of herbage utilisation/ha with high dry matter intakes. Grazing often under-utilises herbage in spring, which leads to a reduction in quantity and quality of herbage in summer and autumn with a consequent accelerated decline in cow performance. Higher grazing stocking rates in spring combined with the conservation of a greater pasture area for silage produces an improved pasture and provides additional forage for supplementation in summer and autumn. At present the amount and seasonability of milk production in New Zealand is dictated by pasture production. This gives large variations in production between and within years, and may not represent the most efficient way of using milk processing plant or of satisfying the market's needs. Consideration may have to be given to less rigid systems of production involving more flexibility in calving date and a greater use of conserved feed.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 46, , 259-262, 1986
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