Introduction to the challenge addressed
The surface area of permanent grassland is under pressure in Flanders (Belgium). The reduction of the livestock population and the increasing interest in arable farming (especially the cultivation of potatoes) are causing permanent grassland to be ploughed and converted into arable land. However, the potential of permanent grasslands as a carbon (C) sink is large.
Description of Innovation
Grassland remains a good and cheap source of dietary protein that a farmer can grow on his farm.
Thus, livestock farming in Flanders guarantees a well-maintained grass crop (in a combination of grazing and/or mowing) and an ideal crop for carbon farming.
Permanent grassland actually deserves additional (financial) support.
Impact on farm performance
The quality of the grassland is very important to support the daily gain of the animals in the pasture (cows and heifers). By feeding quality grassland, less feed protein in the form of soy bean meal is needed..
The quality of the grass must also be sufficient for the winter ration. By adding sufficient good grass silage to the ration during winter, savings can be made on the external supply of protein.
Farmer comment (for Good Practices)
Belgian farmer: “Permanent grassland actually deserves additional (financial) support. Now it looks like you have to follow more rules, while it is the best solution for carbon farming”