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Optimising the production and utilisation of forage for organic livestock (CTE0202)

Keatinge, R (2004) Optimising the production and utilisation of forage for organic livestock (CTE0202). ADAS Consulting Ltd, Redesdale.

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Online at: http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&Completed=0&ProjectID=11047

Summary

On most organic farms in the UK, forages are fundamental to the application of organic farming practices, particularly where dairy cattle, beef cattle and/or sheep are the major enterprises. Methods used for the production, conservation and utilisation of these forage resources have a major influence on the productivity, efficiency and overall sustainability of organic farms. Forage management and utilisation also have a pivotal role in the maintenance of animal health and in the minimisation of environmental impacts associated with livestock farming.
Specific objectives:
1. Extrapolating from published data, to review the requirements for energy and protein across the production cycle for organic milk, beef, lamb, pig and poultry production.
2. To predict the likelihood of meeting all or a minimum proportion of these requirements from a range of organically produced forages.
3. To examine the potential to adjust management or production system to achieve a better balance of nutrient supply and demand
4. To consider likely contribution from alternative forages, and protein sources, as home-grown feeds
5. To assess likely effects on animal health and product quality
6. To develop a database model to predict the potential output and benefits for organic farmers of implementing different options and strategies for forage production and utilisation
7. To determine the environmental losses and gains at each stage of production and utilisation
8. To provide specific guidelines for use by farmers, advisers and policymakers to maximise efficiency in the production and utilisation of forages within a range of organic livestock production systems.
Overall, this body of work has indicated that a number of gaps in current knowledge exist such as: the particular suitability of diverse plants and animal genotypes for forage-based organic systems, methods for determining the nutritive value of organically produced forages, trace element nutrition of organic livestock and specific weed and pest control measures in organic crop production.
Further dissemination of the outputs from this study, drawn from the five separate work packages in which the work was conducted, will help underpin the sustainability of the organic sector.


EPrint Type:Report
Type of Facility:Other
Other Type:n/a
Keywords:livestock, animal nutrition, animal health, forage, farm system, environmental impacts
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Production systems > Pasture and forage crops
Farming Systems > Farm nutrient management
Animal husbandry > Feeding and growth
Research affiliation: UK > ADAS
UK > Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
Deposited By: Defra, R&D Organic Programme
ID Code:6705
Deposited On:10 Mar 2006
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:32
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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