Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Declan O'Connor

Second Advisor

Dr. Deirdre Hennessy

Third Advisor

Dr. Laurence Shaloo and Dr. Luc Delaby


Budgeting grass supply allows producers to minimise the quantity of purchased feed required in the diet of grazing livestock. One tool for managing grass supply could be a mathematical model that can simulate grass growth. The development of such a model would allow better management around the variability of feed supply and help identify feed surpluses and deficits, and therefore increase the accuracy of management decisions. This would be a key feature of profitable milk and meat production systems in the future which will be hugely important as global food demand increases due to population growth. It is forecasted that world population will be 9 billion people by 2050. This research undertook a comprehensive literature review in the areas of grass growth, grass growth modelling and model evaluation, identified and quantified recent patterns in grass growth and meteorological factors, evaluated three existing grass growth models, chose one model for further modification and tested the chosen and modified model in different scenarios throughout Ireland and provided a comprehensive summary and discussion of the work completed in this thesis and highlighted potential future research areas.

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