Optimized grassland management in Germany

An international conference dedicated to building cooperation between the European Innovation Partnership for Agriculture – EIP-Agri and the Horizon 2020 Program took place in September 2017 in Kiel, Germany. The event gathered representatives of the European innovative community working for the introduction and dissemination of innovation in the EU agricultural sector.

As part of the conference program, the participants had the opportunity to visit demo farms at Kiel University in Schleswig-Holstein, where representatives of the Operative Innovation Groups spoke about the ways in which the groups were created and presented the activities on their projects.

Here we will introduce you to one of the presented projects. It belongs to the Operative Group “Optimized Grassland Management – Smart Grazing” and was among the presented at the conference by Dr. Ralf Loges, Research Coordinator at the University of Christian Albrecht in Kiel, Germany.

The overall objective of the Operative Innovation Group is to harness the production potential of grasslands in terms of yield and quality of the main landscape types in Schleswig-Holstein. The “Smart Grazing” model, which is essentially a forecasting tool, has been designed to be compatible with the German Meteorological Service’s forecast to provide real-time data on current growth rates and quality nutrition parameters. Together with the project pilot farms, the problems associated with the landscape specifics of the type of grassland are identified and solutions are found for them – for example, identifying win-win situations for biodiversity and grazing in the plains.

Among the results to be achieved in the implementation of the project is the provision of a Smart Grazing based on a modular structure to increase yield and quality stability for typical grazing lawns in Schleswig-Holstein and raise pasture dairy, by precisely regulating the management of different levels of growth and quality parameters of feed. As a result, it is also intended to create pilot grazing farms as a model for farmers who wish to change the way they breed the animals from all year indoor breeding to outdoor grazing type and to optimize nutrient management in pastures in Schleswig-Holstein.

In one of the three research farms at Christian Albrecht University in Kiel, Lindhof is the experimental base for this project.

It takes into account the main issues of grazing and, within the framework of the implementation of the project, these data are provided in the form of advisory services relating to various management options, feed options, feed schedules, seed mixtures, additional nutrition in collaboration with the Institute for Animal Nutrition, environmental impact, nutrient loss, greenhouse gas emissions, etc.

Together with the pilot farms under the three-year project of this Operative Group, issues related to the landscape type and grazing issues have to be identified and sample solutions for their application to the respective farm will be developed.

The publication is based on EIP – AGRI materials

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