The effect of Kurzrasen and strip-grazing on grassland performance and soil quality of a Peat Meadow

Nyncke Hoekstra*, Gertjan Holshof, René Schils, Bert Philipsen, Kees van Reenen, Karel van Houwelingen, Nick van Eekeren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Due to the increased herd size in the Netherlands, there is need to assess the performance of different grazing systems at high stocking densities. The objective of the current experiment was to assess the effect of two extreme grazing systems, kurzrasen (continuous grazing at 3-5 cm sward height) and strip-grazing at a high stocking rate, on grass production and quality, grass morphology and sward density, root development and load bearing capacity on peat soil. To this end, a two-year grazing trial with four herds of 15 cows on 2 ha each was conducted. Kurzrasen showed 18% lower herbage dry matter production on average compared to strip-grazing. The yield penalty of using a shorter regrowth period under kurzrasen was limited due to the strong response in grass morphology, resulting in a dense and lamina-rich sward. There was a small decline in root density at 10 cm soil depth, but no evidence of a lower root density at 20 cm soil depth for kurzrasen compared to strip-grazing. Sward density was higher for kurzrasen compared to strip-grazing, which had a positive impact on load bearing capacity. This is an important feature on peat soils, where load bearing capacity is often limited.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6283
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume11
Issue number22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2019

Keywords

  • Grazing systems
  • Load bearing capacity
  • Nutritional value
  • Root density
  • Swards

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