Tag Archives: grazing

xxx G. Argenti, F. Del Serra, N. Staglianò and I. Battaglini
Assessment of management effect on grasslands characteristics in an area of the Apennines (North Italy)
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Assessment of management effect on grasslands characteristics in an area of the Apennines (North Italy)

G. Argenti¹*, F. Del Serra¹, N. Staglianò¹ and I. Battaglini²

¹University of Florence, School of Agriculture, DAGRI, P.le delle Cascine 18, IT50144 Firenze, Italy
²Unione di Comuni Valdarno e Valdisieve, Via XXV Aprile, 10, IT50068 Rufina (FI), Italy
*Correspondence: giovanni.argenti@unifi.it

Abstract:

In many regions of Europe, semi-natural grasslands not properly utilized face different threats, concerning changes in botanical composition and structural evolution, which can lead to a reduction of the qualitative value of forage biomass or, in the mid-long term, forest recovery. The present paper assesses various semi-natural grasslands within a mountain public property located in Tuscany (North Apennines, Italy) subjected to different types of utilization. Some of them are managed through cattle grazing during summer, whereas some others are only periodically mowed and utilization is performed only by wildlife occurring in the area. The paper analyses the importance of resource management and its impact on botanical composition and on qualitative value of forage production. Data collection of studied areas was conducted by means of vegetation assessment performed with a fast procedure that simplifies the botanical composition sampling. Results show the relevance of some environmental factors on grasslands evolution and on their composition (such as altitude and slope) and the importance of management on grassland quality and on level of shrub encroachment.

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578-584 I. Blanco-Penedo, J.L. Benedito, R.F. Shore, M. Miranda,M. García Vaquero and M. López-Alonso
Influence of farm type (organic, conventional and intensive) on toxic metal accumulation in calves in NW Spain
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Influence of farm type (organic, conventional and intensive) on toxic metal accumulation in calves in NW Spain

I. Blanco-Penedo¹, J.L. Benedito¹, R.F. Shore², M. Miranda³,M. García Vaquero¹ and M. López-Alonso¹

¹Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Departamento de Patoloxía Animal, Facultade deVeterinaria, 27002 Lugo, Spain
²Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Lancaster Environment Centre, Library Avenue, Bailrigg,Lancaster LA1 4AP, UK
³Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Ciencias Clínicas Veterinarias, Facultade deVeterinaria, 27002 Lugo, Spaine-mail: isabel.blanco.penedo@usc.es.

Abstract:

The aim of the present study was to determine how accumulation of toxic metals by beef-cattle in NW Spain varies between farms that have markedly different practices (including intensive, conventional and organic management) and to determine possible key factors affecting toxic metal assimilation by cattle. Soil, feed (forage and concentrate) and animal tissues (liver and kidney from 120 calves) were collected from nine farms across NW Spain and were analysed for metals by ICP-MS. Toxic metal concentrations in beef calves were generally low but did vary significantly between farms. There were no consistent patterns of difference in tissue metal concentrations between farms from different regions or between farms with different management practices. Variations in arsenic, cadmium and mercury concentrations in calf tissues were not significantly explained by soil or diet metal concentrations but were significantly and inversely related to the proportion of concentrate in the ration. Higher levels of metal residues in tissues were associated with consumption of low amounts of concentrate and relatively high levels of grazing. Higher toxic metal intake due to grazing is likely to be largely a result of soil ingestion.

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139–151 J. Isselstein, B. Jeangros and V. Pavlu
Agronomic aspects of biodiversity targeted management of temperate grasslands in Europe – A review
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Agronomic aspects of biodiversity targeted management of temperate grasslands in Europe – A review

J. Isselstein¹, B. Jeangros² and V. Pavlu³

¹Institute of Agronomy and Plant Breeding, University of Goettingen, Von-Siebold-Str. 8, 37075 Goettingen, Germany
²Agroscope RAC Changins, Swiss Federal Agricultural Research Station,CH-1260 Nyon, Switzerland
³Research Institute of Crop Production, Prague, Grassland Research Station, Rolnicka 6, CZ-46011 Liberec, The Czech Republic

Abstract:

Maintaining and enhancing the biodiversity of the agriculturally utilised area has a high priority in environmental policy worldwide. Temperate grasslands in Europe make an important contribution to the biodiversity of agricultural landscapes. The species and community diversity of grasslands is a result of a traditional extensive grassland management interacting with a broad range of site conditions. Until the early decades of the last century, grassland sites were hardly ameliorated and the agronomic potential was generally low, depending on the fertility of the soils. Later on the production from grassland was markedly improved by regular fertilisation, by liming and by artificial drainage of wet sites. Correspondingly, the stocking rates and the cutting frequency increased. Thus, biodiversity strongly decreased, and unimproved species-rich swards only persisted on a low percentage of the total grassland area. The preservation of the remaining species-rich grassland is a primary goal of nature conservation. The continuation of traditional ways of grassland management that would best preserve biodiversity is often not compatible with the requirements of intensive livestock production. Therefore, this grassland is at risk of being abandoned from agricultural use. There is a need to identify and develop improved management measures that better integrate biodiversity and agronomy targets of species-rich grassland farming. In addition, compensation payments for farmers are required to support grass production on species-rich swards. Apart from the unimproved species-rich grassland, there is an increasing area of now de-intensified species-poor grassland which can be managed to increase biodiversity. Grazing at a low stocking rate seems to have the potential to facilitate the restoration of diverse swards and to support reasonable individual performances of the grazing animals.

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