The role of tactical and operational grassland management in achieving agronomic and environmental objectives; 'De Marke', a case study

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Abstract

Reduction of N losses, especially nitrate leaching, is an important objective for dairy farms in the Netherlands. So far, many strategies have focused on changes in strategic and tactical management. Little attention has been paid to operational grassland management. So a conceptual model of operational grassland management was defined, with strong interactions between N rates, realized dry matter (DM) yields, herbage N content, growing days and utilization per cut. Analysis of data from 'De Marke' and from monitoring projects shows that grassland production and utilization can be improved by changes in operational grassland management. DM yields for grazing and cutting need to be increased, grazing per paddock must be shorter and slurry must be applied as early as possible. This improved grassland management is able to partly compensate the decrease in DM production resulting from a lower N input.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-228
JournalNJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences
Volume49
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2001

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