Keys to sustainable grazing
The aim of this research is to develop novel grazing systems that are technically and socially feasible for highly productive dairy farms (i.e. farms with a high stocking density on the available grazing area), and are economically viable and environmentally sound. This requires analysis of the technical, economic and environmental performance of novel grazing systems for dairy farms.
Grazing of milking cows is decreasing in the Netherlands, as well as in other European countries, mainly because of an increase in herd size, milk yield per cow and use of robotic milking systems. Dairy systems with grazing, however, appear to be highly competitive from an economic perspective. Grazing also promotes a clean, animal-friendly image for the dairy sector, and contributes to landscapes that are highly appreciated by the Dutch public.
How to graze?
To ensure pasturing on future dairy farms, we need to optimize the grazing system for highly productive dairy farms (i.e. farms with a high stocking density on the available grazing area) from a technical, socio-economic and environmental perspective. Farmers start to change from traditional continuous and rotational grazing systems to compartmented continuous grazing (CCG) and strip grazing (SG). Unlike the traditional grazing systems, CCG and SG are grazing systems in which cows receive a new grazing area each day. So far, in-depth knowledge about the impact of these grazing systems on, e.g. grass quality and quantity, protein utilization, greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient use efficiency is missing. This lack of knowledge hampers assurance of grazing in future dairy production. In order to quantify economic and environmental consequences of improved grazing strategies, such as CCG and SG, we need detailed insights in the technical performance of these systems. The aim of this research, therefore, was to quantify the technical performance of improved grazing strategies in order to determine the economic and environmental consequences for dairy farms.
- Identify potential grazing systems, suitable for highly productive dairy farms (i.e. farms with a high stocking density on the available grazing area) in north-western Europe.
- Assess the actual performance of promising novel grazing systems, designed especially for highly productive dairy farms in the Netherlands. This knowledge is obtained from a two-year field experiment at Dairy Campus, in which technical data of grazing systems are collected. The grazing experiment at Dairy Campus is in collaboration with the project ‘Amazing Grazing’.
- Integrate knowledge and evaluate sustainability performance of various scenarios that enable grazing on highly productive dairy farms. Data required to parameterize scenarios are provided by the outcomes of i.e. literature review and by field experiments at Dairy Campus.
Results of this PhD research will be presented in at least four scientific papers, which will be published in peer-reviewed journals, and will yield one PhD thesis. The PhD student will also present results at scientific conferences (e.g. European Federation of Animal Science, European Grassland Federation, Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences Science Day) and relevant network meetings (e.g. EGF Working Group ‘Grazing’).
- Evaluation of a feeding strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from dairy farming: The level of analysis matters. C.E. Van Middelaar, P.B.M. Berentsen, J. Dijkstra, I.J.M. De Boer (2013). Agricultural Systems, Volume 121, Pages 9-22
- Amazing Grazing: Building block Grass intake
- Project: Autograssmilk
- Duurzame Zuivelketen
- Grazing strategies for future dairy farms: an economic and environmental perspective. PhD project by Cindy Klootwijk.
- Ook verliezen bij roterend weiden en stripgrazen (Nieuwe Oogst 07-06-2019)
- Grasopname weideseizoen 2017 in beeld
- Klootwijk, Cindy (2019). Keys to sustainable grazing: economic and environmental consequences of grazing strategies for dairy farms. PhD Thesis Wageningen University, Wageningen
- Cindy Klootwijk doing research at Dairy Campus
- Dutch dairy farms after milk quota abolition: Economic and environmental consequences of a new manure policy. C.W. Klootwijk, C.E. Van Middelaar, P.B.M. Berentsen and I.J.M. De Boer (2016). J. Dairy Sci. 99:8384–8396.
- Global food supply: land use efficiency of livestock systems. H.H.E. Van Zanten, H. Mollenhorst, C.W. Klootwijk, C.E. Van Middelaar, I.J.M De Boer (2015). Int J of Life Cycle Assess 21:747–758.
- Amazing Grazing; science in support of future dairy systems. R.L.M. Schils, A.P. Philipsen, G. Holshof, R.L.G. Zom, I.E. Hoving, C.G. Van Reenen, J.T.N. Van der Werf, P.J. Galama, L. Sebek, C. Klootwijk, N.J.M. Van Eekeren, N.J. Hoekstra, M.W.J. Stienezen and A. Van Den Pol - Van Dasselaar (2018). Pages 336-338 in Proc. Grassland Science in Europe 23.
- Fosfaatrechten vormen pas een barrière om uit te breiden wanneer mestverwerking of grond goedkoper worden - Uitbreiden ondanks nieuwe wetgeving? P.B.M. Berentsen, C.W. Klootwijk, C.E. van Middelaar and I.J.M. de Boer (2015). Veeteelt, 02-11-2015.