The project ‘Cows & Opportunities’ was initiated by the farmers’ union and the government in 1998 to explore the options to meet strict environmental targets.
The research describes the changes over time in the empirical relationship between farm characteristics, farm management, nitrogen and phosphorus surpluses and use efficiencies on 16 commercial pilot dairy farms during the period 1998-2011.
The results of this thesis show that intensive coaching and interaction between farmers and researchers may lead to rapid adoption of efficient farm management practices on pilot farms.
The possibilities to improve nutrient management are farm-specific, influenced by soil type and hydrology, and depending on craftsman skills and entrepreneurship.
Farmers in ‘Cows & Opportunities’ share their experiences with each other and with other farmers. The project forms a unique link in the chain of information and knowledge transfer from theoretical and experimental research to commercial dairy farms and to policy makers from both government and farmers’ union.