The Kerry Agribusiness catchment area is located in the south-west of Ireland where grass grows for about 330 days a year. Grass-based dairy systems in the area rely on matching grass growth with cow demand, hence why most suppliers are spring calving.
Surplus grass grown during the summer months is harvested and stored as grass silage, which is fed to the cows during the winter period when cows are not lactating and during grass availability deficits at the beginning and end of the year. A small quantity of purchased supplement is also fed to cows in early and late lactation when grass availability is reduced.
Weather and ground conditions permit cows to graze outdoors for most of the lactation period, as farmers aim to utilise this nutritious and high value feed.