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Keywords:

  • cattle slurry;
  • trailing-shoe;
  • dairy cows;
  • rotational grazing

Abstract

The effects of applying cattle slurry using the trailing-shoe technique on dairy cow and sward performance were examined in two experiments in Northern Ireland. In Experiment 1, forty-eight cows were allocated to two treatments, with or without slurry application. In Experiment 2, sixty cows were allocated to four treatments, a combination of high and normal grazing stocking rate, with or without slurry application. In Experiment 1, slurry was applied during the first and fourth rotations. In Experiment 2, slurry was applied prior to the first grazing rotation and during the second, fifth and sixth grazing rotations. In Experiments 1 and 2, the total inorganic fertilizer nitrogen (N) inputs applied within the slurry treatments were 200 and 133 kg N ha−1, with 280 and 285 kg N ha−1 used within the fertilizer-only treatments in each experiment respectively. Varying responses of milk yield to slurry application were observed. In Experiment 1, with a normal stocking rate, no effect was observed. In Experiment 2 with two stocking rates, reduced milk yields were observed at both stocking rates. Although not significant, there were indications that this reduction in milk yield when slurry was applied was higher at higher stocking rates.