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  • Title: Exciting project in Germany

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  • Date: Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Description

LIC Europe is working with New Zealand companies, Gallagher and Waikato Milking Systems, on a unique project started by Irish farmers, Paul and Stephen Costello, in Germany. The Costello’s have invested in a 1600ha unit just south of Brandenburg. The farm is unique to the area, aiming to produce pasture-based milk for local consumers.

Six years after the start of the project, the farm is milking 900 NZ-bred cows that graze outdoors most of the year. For the remaining couple of months they eat conserved grass silage.

The farm's 900 NZ-bred cows graze outside for most of the year

All decisions made for the farming operation are centred around the growth of grass – when determining cow numbers, when cows calve, the introduction of any supplement feeds and the drying off process.  The aim is always to maximise milk production from grass.

Although this farm aims to graze the cows all-year-round, this isn’t essential. Many farms across Europe will find they can extend their grazing period and gradually transition their cows to a more grass-based system. In many cases it’s easier to take gradual incremental steps than jump straight into the deep end.

We aim to hold an open day in early October at the farm, inviting interested farmers across Europe to check out the farming practices and see how they can adopt some of the changes on their units. During Covid-19 restrictions, we will be doing regular podcasts on the farm and its progress.

Listen to the podcasts

We aim to give you an extensive overview of the progress of the farm so that you can fully enjoy the open day once it can be held.  We invite you to email realgrassmilk@gmail.com to signify your interest in attending the open day. Feel free to share this information with your farming friends, institutions, technical bodies and through your social media.

These are difficult times for us all, and we appreciate your support in helping us to communicate with colleagues across Europe in a different way.