Auteur: Hanegraaf M.C., Vertès F., Corson M.S., Den Boer D.J., Moraine M. and Korevaar H.
Jaar van uitgifte: 2015
Improving agricultural sustainability through innovative mixed farming systems (MFS) is the scope of the EU project CANTOGETHER. MFS may refer to activities on a single farm and/or to cooperation between farms (e.g. animal and crop production). Combining agricultural production with biodiversity and environmental goals may also be involved. To design such systems, participatory methods were used. This paper discusses two regional case studies dominated by intensive dairy farming that aim to reduce N losses. The first case study concerns the region of Winterswijk (NL), where intensive dairy farming is combined with nature conservation areas to maintain an attractive landscape and improve water quality. In cooperation with the District Water Board, practices to reduce both N and P losses have been implemented. The second case study concerns the Lieue de Grève catchment (F), where dairy farmers aim to reduce nitrate leaching by implementing, at regional and farm levels, a set of systemic indicators for N inputs and stocking rates per ha of grassland. Here the aim is to guide production systems towards better agro-ecological performance. Reduction in farm losses have been scaled up to the regional level using simple calculations for the Winterswijk region and the CASIMOD’N model for the Lieue de Grève region. For the region of Winterswijk, application of the practices to all suitable fields would reduce potential losses of N by 123 Mg and of P2O5 by 72 Mg, amounting to 8-9% of the N applied in the area as manure and chemical fertilisers and 19-20% of the P2O5 applied. In the Lieue de Grève catchment, increasing the percentage of grassland in the agricultural area (by 25 percentage points) would maintain milk production and decrease nitrate-N losses by about 30% (-8 mg NO3 - l‑1). Conditions for implementing changes at the regional level are mentioned.