The official EU Protein Balance Sheet published by the European Commission services does not include any data on the importance of roughage for the dairy sector due to the lack of reliable quantitative information on this type of fodder.
The EDA says the EDA–IFCN study fills the gap with data for all 28 EU Member States.
Source of protein
In its explanatory note of the EU Protein Balance Sheet, the European Commission underlines that “roughage (pasture, green forage, silage) is an important source of protein, in particular for ruminants.”
The new study now shows that, at EU level, almost 70% of the total protein intake of dairy cows stems from roughage, with Ireland (84%) and Austria (80%) having the highest ratio.
Another finding is that 95% of the roughage used in dairy farms in the Union is grown ‘on farm’ and plays a key role in both farm economics and farm sustainability.
EDA secretary general Alexander Anton said, “We support the overall idea of establishing an EU Protein Strategy. Roughage like pasture, green forage or silage is non-edible for humans and grown on ecologically valuable pastureland.
“In volume, roughage represents at least 85% of a dairy cows’ daily diet. Our joint EDA–IFCN study now shows that on-farm-grown roughage is also the protein basis for the EU dairy sector, accounting for more than 80% of the total protein intake of cows in Ireland or in Austria.”