Fodder beet, a crop with a future for a more sustainable cattle husbandry

    Project Details


    Main research question/goal
    The aim of this project is to re-introduce fodder beets into Flemish agriculture by considering mechanical, feed technical and economic aspects. The intention is to evaluate and propose a total concept from cropping to harvesting, ensiling and feeding fodder beet to livestock. In EU agriculture policy, fodder beets are enjoying attention as a possible third crop on the farm beside grass and maize. The research questions are a) does farm equipment exist that enables loading, cleaning, cutting and eventually also mixing and ensiling fodder beets in an efficient and economical way? b) is it possible to make mixed silages of fodder beet with forages, concentrates or byproducts which allow preservation the year round with minimum losses of nutrients? c) What is the feeding values of promising silage mixtures for cattle?

    Research approach
    ILVO and the University College of Ghent, partners in this research, will execute some practical experiments.  In collaboration with several private  companies, the mechanization possibilities are examined and the silage experiments are performed on an experimental farm. ILVO focuses on the feed evaluation of the mixed silages with fodder beets. Apart from the chemical analysis on all tested combinations, 5 mixtures will be selected for determining digestibility with sheep in order to derive the net energy value. Further, the degradation characteristics of most silages in the rumen of fistulated cows are analyzed to derive the protein value. Finally, a cost-benefit analysis is made from cropping to feeding fodder beets.

    Research results will be published in an online booklet, accompanied by demonstrations of the mechanization possibilities. The research results will be brought directly to the farmers via agricultural magazines and live presentations.

    Funding provider(s)
    Collectief 'Eigen Inbreng'
    Hogeschool Gent

    External partner(s)
    Hogeschool Gent
    Effective start/end date15/09/1515/10/17