Tag Archives: grassland

54-66 K. Kall, Ü. Roosmaa and R. Viiralt
Assessment of the economic value of cattle slurry and biogas digestate used on grassland
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Assessment of the economic value of cattle slurry and biogas digestate used on grassland

K. Kall¹*, Ü. Roosmaa¹ and R. Viiralt²

¹Institute of Economics and Social Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences,
Kreutzwaldi 1, EE51014 Tartu, Estonia
²Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of Life
Sciences, Kreutzwaldi 64, EE51014 Tartu, Estonia
*Correspondence: katri.kall@emu.ee

Abstract:

 Concentration of dairy production and development of manure handling technologies has led to large amounts of cattle slurry produced as a by-product. Slurry can be used directly for fertilisation or input for biogas production. As a result of added organic materials, the nutrient content of the by-product of anaerobic digestion (biogas digestate) differs from nutrient content of slurry. The data from the 2012 to 2014 field experiment designed to evaluate the use of local organic fertilisers on grassland were used for the current study. The objective of this research is to present an approach for the fair reflection of the economic value of organic fertilisers. The approach is based on substitution relationships between mineral and organic fertilisation on a certain yield level of grass dry matter production. The economic value was assessed based on the nutrient content of cattle slurry and biogas digestate, application costs, and the cost of mineral fertilisation. Two categories of economic value were calculated: the total and the actually realised value. The total economic value shows the potential value of nutrients available for plant production. The actual realised value is formed through the nutrient usage by plants. The economic value of the biogas digestate used in the experiments appeared to be higher than the value of slurry, due to the equal application of ammonium nitrogen (NH4-N), the higher content of potassium and lower application rates.

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153–164 S. Plantureux, A. Peeters and D. McCracken
Biodiversity in intensive grasslands: Effect of management, improvement and challenges
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Biodiversity in intensive grasslands: Effect of management, improvement and challenges

S. Plantureux¹, A. Peeters² and D. McCracken³

¹UMR INPL(ENSAIA)-INRA Agronomie et Environnement Nancy-Colmar, 2 av. de la Foret de Haye, 54500 Vandoeuvre, France
²Laboratoire d'Ecologie des Prairies, Université Catholique de Louvain, Place Croix du Sud, 5 bte 1, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgique
³Land Economy Research Group, Scottish Agricultural College, Auchincruive, Ayr KA6 5HW, United Kingdom

Abstract:

Intensified grasslands are usually the dominant type of grassland in many countries in Europe but are generally of poor ecological value. Several management factors may affect biodiversity of these grasslands including fertilisation, grazing and cutting management. Their effects on grassland biodiversity are described in this paper. In most cases, intensive and profitable grass production from semi-natural grasslands appears to be incompatible with maintaining a high level of biodiversity. Two key questions then arise: how to restore biodiversity in intensive grasslands while limiting the technical and economical consequences? How to choose the target species on an objective basis? Some solutions are considered in the paper but it is suggested that 1) new tools (i.e. indicators) are required to evaluate the functions of biodiversity and to achieve biodiversity restoration goals and 2) in the short-term the research priority is to understand and predict biodiversity at the field and farm-scale.

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125–138 M. Duru, J. Tallowin and P. Cruz
Functional diversity in low-input grassland farming systems: characterisation, effect and management
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Functional diversity in low-input grassland farming systems: characterisation, effect and management

M. Duru¹, J. Tallowin² and P. Cruz¹

¹UMR ARCHE, Chemin de Borde Rouge, BP52627, 31326 Castanet Tolosan, France
²Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, North Wyke, Okehampton, Devon EX20 2SB, UK

Abstract:

High biodiversity in grasslands is widely perceived to have a major role in maintaining or enhancing the amenity and cultural value of landscapes in Europe. In this paper, we focus mainly at community level, evaluating factors that appear to influence biodiversity at farm and landscape levels. In order to establish generic principles we examine the maintenance of biodiversity in terms of maintaining or enhancing functional diversity (FD). We define plant functional types (PFTs), groups of species having the same function and/or the same effect in the grassland ecosystem, species identified on the basis of plant traits. These traits reflect ecological responses to nutrient input and/or defoliation frequency, and they can also have an effect on ecosystem properties. We reviewed the literature, examining the relationship between several leaf and plant traits and principal ecological factors and, in turn, how these traits could influence the feed value of the grassland vegetation for herbivores. FD was determining as the range of relevant PFTs at community, farm and landscape levels. We propose a practical method of assessing agronomic value of semi-natural grasslands based on the determination of dominant PFTs by measuring traits in situ, or through using a trait database coupled to species abundance records. We then assess the relevance of the method for semi-natural grasslands subjected to several management practices.

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11–16 Volli Geherman, Rein Viiralt and Olav Ellermäe
Comparison of leys on conventional and organic farms
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Comparison of leys on conventional and organic farms

Volli Geherman¹, Rein Viiralt¹ and Olav Ellermäe²

¹Department of Grassland Science and Botany, Estonian Agricultural University, Kreutzwaldi 56, 51014 Tartu, Estonia
²Department of Soil Science and Agrochemistry, Estonian Agricultural University, Viljandi Road, Tartu, Estonia

Abstract:

The objective of this research was to compare the potential production of conventional and organic leys depending on the nutritive status of the soil. Three pairs of dairy farms, located in different regions of Estonia, were selected: Lääne (west), Harju (north) and Võru (south-east) Counties. In this research work, the botanical composition of the sward,  the dry matter (DM) and crude protein (CP) yield and concentration in grass were measured. The soil pHKCl and the content of organic matter were determined, including the content of soluble plant nutrients P, K, Ca and Mg in the soil. The soil profiles were described and the soils were classified.
As the organic farms, with legume-rich swards, were quite similar to the conventional farms, the preliminary results did not show large differences between the two farming types studied. The average DM yield of the ley at the first cut and the total DM yield were higher on the conventional farms.

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