About Autograssmilk

Objectives In french

The increasing use of automatic milking (AM) systems is a clearly discernible trend across the EC dairy sector. However, this increase in the use of AM is associated with a decrease in grazing and there is a major concern that the established economic benefits of grazing will be lost or substantially reduced if the use of AM systems is not integrated with the grazing of dairy cows. This is the subject of the AUTOGRASSMILK project. The objective of the project is to develop and implement improved sustainable farming systems that integrate the grazing of dairy cows with AM, which are appropriate to the different approaches to dairy farming to be found in the different regions in Europe. This will be achieved by five integrated work packages, with each work package having a clearly defined objective, described as follows:

  1. Develop optimum feeding strategies for dairy cows incorporating grazed grass and AM for various production systems in Europe
  2. Optimise the integration of AM with cow grazing using new technologies
  3. Increase the sustainability of integrated grazing and AM technologies
  4. Develop tools that will allow dairy farmers to optimise economic efficiency when combining grazing with AM systems
  5. Continuously disseminate new technology to end-users in a form that is easily accessible and locally adapted to improve farm efficiency .

The SME Associations (SME-AGs) in this project consortium have identified the need for research to provide the scientific knowledge that will enable the effective integration of cow grazing and automatic milking. This will involve the development of integrated cow grazing and AM systems which are capable of being a mainstream milk production system within the different geographical regions in North West Europe (during the period of the project and thereafter across the EU). This is an issue of significant importance to all of the SME-AGs participating in the  AUTOGRASSMILK project. They have identified the ‘Research for the Benefit of SME Associations’ Call of FP7 as being the most suitable mechanism by which research can be undertaken on this subject that will directly address the needs of their members and enable them to benefit from the findings of this research. The SME-AGs are not themselves in a position to carry out this research. They have therefore identified and approached RTD providers whom they consider have the necessary expertise and track record to provide a scientific research programme that will deliver technological solutions as to how the grazing of dairy cows and the use of AM can be integrated in the different regions of the EC. The SME-AGs will use the results for the benefits of dairy farmers in Europe.

This consortium has 15 members comprising 6 SME-AGs from 6 different counties, and 6 RTD Performers (one associated with each of the SME-AGs), two SMEs representing two end-users, on whose farms the technological solutions arising from the research will be tested and an SME associated with project management. The SME-AGs include IGA, LTO, VFL, CNIEL, SDF and CDL in Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Sweden and Belgium, respectively. The SME end-users are located in Ireland and Denmark as these countries represent a large variation in dairy and grazing practices and production within North West Europe. The respective research providers are Teagasc, WLR, AU, IDELE, SLU and ULg, representing considerable scientific expertise in animal nutrition, animal welfare, milk quality, economics, sociological aspects of dairy farming, agronomy, and engineering focused on milking technology and efficiency and equipment development. The RTDs will also provide state of the art facilities to run large animal trials. The SME associated with project management is Irish based.

The consortium is very appropriate as this project draws on the strengths of two different concepts which are prominent in different participant countries. The first concept is in countries, e.g. Denmark, where automated milking is operated on a widespread basis, but mainly with cows indoors including associated feeding strategies high in conserved forage and concentrate feed. The focus in these countries is on improving milk production per cow. Alternatively, other countries, e.g. Ireland, have well developed cow grazing systems but are not familiar with AM. This project brings the two concepts together. The research focuses on combining these concepts centred on issues of farm labour demand, farm fragmentation where land is a constraint to herd expansion at one location, legislative requirements for cow grazing times, reduction in feed costs and consumer preference for milk produced from grazed grass. The SME-AGs have initiated this proposal because they believe the integration of cow grazing and AM can make a substantial contribution to the future of dairy farming in the EU.




Au sujet d’Autograssmilk

Systèmes de production innovants et durables combinant traite automatisée et pâturage de précision –Recherche en faveur des associations de PME (= de producteurs de lait)

1 – Contexte général

La tendance d’expansion des robots de traite (AMS) en production bovine à travers l’UE est clairement identifiable. Toutefois, le recours accru aux robots est associé à une diminution de la part de pâturage : cette évolution est problématique compte tenu de l’intérêt économique démontré de l’herbe pâturée, atout qui va donc être perdu si on ne parvient pas à intégrer les robots dans les systèmes de production pâturants.

2 – Objectifs

L’objet d’AUTOGRASSMILK est d’accroître la compétitivité de l’élevage laitier européen en réussissant l’intégration de troupeaux de vaches pâturants dans un système de traite robotisé, et ce dans différents contextes et systèmes de production régionaux. Cet objectif sera atteint en (1) développant des stratégies d’alimentation alliant pâturage et robot pour différents systèmes de production, (2) utilisant de nouvelles technologies de précision pour optimiser l’intégration du pâturage avec le robot, (3) accroissant la durabilité des élevages combinant pâturage et robot, (4) développant un outil d’optimisation économique pour les élevages laitiers combinant robot et pâturage, et (5) en communicant continuellement les nouvelles technologies ainsi acquises auprès des producteurs- utilisateurs de références, d’une manière aisément accessible et adaptée aux contextes locaux, afin d’améliorer l’efficacité des exploitations laitières.

Le projet AUTOGRASSMILK apportera ainsi des réponses aux questions et problèmes identifiés par les associations de producteurs (au nom de leurs membres) autour de la problématique « robot et pâturage.