Sustainable intensification in the production of grass and forage crops in the low Countries of north-west Europe

D Reheul, M Cougnon, M Kayser, Joke Pannecoucque, J Swancaert, B De Cauwer, A van den Pol-van Dasselaar, Alex De Vliegher

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftA1: Web of Science-artikelpeer review


Production of grass and fodder crops in areas under intensive production systems in the Low Countries of north-west Europe faces a number of threats related to increased regulations, scarcity of land and restricted freedom of use of the land, and from climate change. Grassland-based farmers are pushed to do more with less, i.e., to improve eco-efficiency, and this requires “more knowledge per ha.” This article argues that progress in variety breeding, the application of crop rotation instead of monocultures, a proper use of catch crops, ley-arable farming and overall good management offer realistic opportunities to cope with current threats. A large capacity for mechanization also allows improvement of net yields per ha. This article highlights that progress in plant breeding has compensated for yield declines caused by nutrient-input restrictions in forage maize (Zea mays L.). Both forage maize and grass–clover can take advantages of ley-arable farming, and crop rotation provides an insurance against the effects of low-yielding years and a buffer for reduced nutrient inputs.
Oorspronkelijke taalEngels
TijdschriftGrass and Forage Science
Pagina's (van-tot)369-381
Aantal pagina’s12
PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - sep-2017

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