Five reasons why it pays to invest in good grassland now

High-quality grassland answers the need for lower costs in milk production, certainly now when the milk price is so low. Why is that?

1. High quality grass is always cheaper than concentrates.

Fresh grass and silage are much cheaper to use than concentrates. Fresh grass costs € 0.07, silage € 0.15, concentrates € 0.23 per kilo of dry matter. Substituting grass for concentrates in the feed ration brings big savings:

  • € 58 a year for each cow when two kilos of dry-matter concentrate  are replaced by grass silage.
  • € 117 a year for each cow when two kilos of dry matter concentrate are replaced by two kilos of fresh grass.

2. The more grass in the daily ration, the lower the cost price.

According to many financial reports, farmers who utilise a high proportion of grass in the daily ration have the lowest cost price per litre milk. Ireland, for example, has the lowest costs in Europe because milk is produced there from cows that graze on grass. A farm can make a saving of at least

€ 60 a year for each cow by substituting grass silage for 20% of the maize. Here too, using fresh grass gives an even bigger saving.


See table 1. Effect of increased content grass silage in a feed ration’

3. Keep more money in your pocket : Growing grass is cheaper than growing maize.

"A penny saved is a penny earned." It is cheaper to cultivate grass than maize - this leads to savings of approximately € 300/ha in the case of cutting, and up to € 650/ha in the case of grazing. A farmer can keep more money in his pocket this year if he chooses to sow grass instead of maize this spring.


See table 2. Difference in operational costs of grass versus maize cultivation  


4. Overseeding increases the yield straight away and saves costs on renewing grassland.

Savings for today and tomorrow. German researchers have proven that regular overseeding gives an increased yield of more than 11,402 MJ NEL/ha/year. That means a return of more than

€ 200 per hectare. Overseeding also keeps the sward free of weeds and bare patches and reduces the need to renew grassland.


See table 3. Overseeding trial results by ‘Landwirtschaftskammer Niedersachsen, Germany 2004 – 2008

5. Reap the advantages of a wise investment - a small investment in difficult times will more than pay for itself when times are good.

"Penny wise and pound foolish"- during a recession, it sometimes seems to makes sense to opt for the cheapest product and that can often prove to be very expensive. The best recommended varieties easily bring a higher return of € 400 per hectare.


See table 4. Return on investment of high quality recommended varieties versus cheap 'standard' varieties