A new data-driven approach for more efficient forage production
authors:Anders Rognlien, Yara International, Norway
IFS Conference, 6-8 December 2023
SKU: Rec-123 Categories: Animal Production, Grassland & Forages, Integrated Plant Nutrient Management, Nitrogen, Nutrient Use Efficiency, Organic Manure & Composts, Phosphorus, Recommendations & Advice, Recordings
Conventional approaches to managing fertilisation for forage crop production have not been successful in Norwegian agriculture. The reason for this lack of success is that forage is not a crop for sale, and the value of the crop is measured in the feeding response on farm. Unfortunately, farmers have limited insight into grass yields and forage quality, and it is difficult to manage fields correctly without better information on feeding and production results in the barn. In Norwegian agriculture we are therefore focusing on closing the gap between agronomy and animal sciences.
A solution that helps to overcome these limitations is one where the livestock production drives different forage qualities and quantities to strengthen the interaction between livestock and forage production. Our concept is to use different data sources and technologies to define different key performance indicators in the production chain from the field to the barn to optimise a grass-based forage production system. The production chain is divided into four phases: 1) milk and meat production, 2) feeding, 3) harvesting and 4) cultivation. A case study shows that with the help of this methodology, it is possible to reduce feed costs, increase feed utilisation, increase the proportion of home-grown feed, and increase the utilisation of feed protein. The resulting learning points will be of interest to grassland farmers everywhere.