Vruchtwisseling voor een robuust melkveebedrijf

Towards a sustainable dairy farm: the power of crop rotation.

On a dairy farm, maize and grass form the basis of the ration for cattle. It is therefore logical that these are the two main crops on a dairy farm. As a result, these crops often dominate even though there is plenty of research on the advantages of crop rotation and the disadvantages of monoculture.

Changed conditions and legislation around crop rotation

Despite practical knowledge about the benefits of crop rotation at the practice centres, guiding legislation and sensitisation, many dairy farmers stuck to monoculture.
Especially on sandy soils, rotation remains limited. This while there are plenty of alternative high-quality crops available. But current policy changes, both in CAP and IPM legislation, require farmers to apply effective crop rotation on their plots.

Obstacles and opportunities: implementing new crops

For many dairy farmers, this is a challenge. The farmer faces a first major hurdle: choosing successive crops per plot. This has to take into account incorporation into the ration or potential market, opportunities and pitfalls in terms of disease transmission, legislation...

A second hurdle to overcome is the implementation of crops that are new to the farmer or with which he may have had a negative experience in the past. These include technical aspects (sowing, harvesting, crop protection), possible collaborations with a contractor and getting a good idea of the qualities of a crop. This crop may not always be purely financial, but offers opportunities towards liming, fertilisation, carbon build-up, soil quality and/or IPM.

Our project: sharing experiences and practical guidelines

Within this project, sharing experiences is key. Farmers can inform each other about different crops, optimal rotation and the use of green cover crops they apply on their farms. The PVL in turn provides practical guidelines to draw up a realistic rotation schedule for the farm. Demonstrations will also be given so farmers can see the effects of these adjustments.

Together, we strive for a robust and sustainable dairy farm, where crop rotation plays a central role in maintaining soil quality and the future of agriculture. 🌱🐄

Project partners: LCV, Hooibeekhoeve, Proefhoeve Bottelaere, HOGENT - UGENT

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