Evaluation of perennial grass species increases competitiveness of Nordic dairy and beef production in a changing climate
MoRE2020 Fellow Dannylo Oliveria de Sousa, incoming mobility from University of São Paulo, Brazil to Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) Skara
Grassland based ruminant production has a vital role in ensuring a sustainable future for agriculture by converting fibre-rich grass to milk and meat for human consumption in a growing world population. Most perennial grass species in the Nordic countries have high nutrient availability but their growth is generally sensitive to extreme dry and wet conditions, which are typical for the approaching climate changes that we have experienced in 2018 and will most likely continue in the future. This has led to tremendous decreases in grass yields and insufficient amounts of grass to livestock on Nordic farms. Thus, investigation and cultivation of perennial grasses that are tolerant to dry and wet conditions is crucial to sustain and develop livestock farming in the Nordic countries. The overall aim of this project is to secure a sustainable agricultural food production from grass-fed dairy and beef cattle in a changing climate. The specific aim is to compare the grass tall fescue, which is high yielding and tolerant to dry and wet conditions, with timothy and meadow fescue, which are commonly grown grasses in the Nordic countries, when fed as silage to dairy cows. Nutrient availability of the grasses is determined by using wethers as model animals for producing feed values to be used in ration formulations for dairy cows and beef cattle. The project will make the farming in Västra Götaland more prepared for droughts and heavy rains. By bringing in an experienced researcher from Brazil with expertise in forages under dry and wet conditions, Swedish agriculture gains knowledge that is essential for a sustainable grass-livestock production in a changing climate. Efficient implementation of the results is secured by collaboration with the end users Lantmännen and Agroväst.
Collaborating end-users: Lantmännen and Agroväst