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Over wintering of livestock (MDC) - WT0740CSF

i. Conduct a comprehensive literature review to identify the potential of brassica crops as a feed in ruminant systems and their potential as a primary feed in out wintering systems for non-lactating cattle
ii. Identify the benefits and limitations of the different brassica crops, the key factors associated with their cultivation within the cropping systems of the whole-farm system and with out wintering dairy cattle, and specific areas where further studies are required to overcome lack of information
iii. Identify the environmental impacts of out wintering cattle on brassica systems, including factors associated with:
iii.1. Soil structure damage, erosion of sediment and associated transfer of nutrients, organic matter and faecal organisms to water courses
iii.2. Leaching of nitrate
iii.3. Emissions of ammonia, methane and nitrous oxide from the grazing returns (urine and faeces)
i. Quantify the current state of knowledge on the production and utilisation of different brassica crops in ruminant livestock systems, including the different types of brassica crops grown, objectives of the current Brassica breeding programmes and potential for targeted genetic improvements based on key production and environmental traits, role within the cropping systems of the whole-farm system and strategies for ensuring the nutrient and financial potential of the crops are both maximised.
ii. Evaluate the potential effect of both brassica-based diets and out wintering on the health and welfare of dairy cattle, including lactating cows, and nutrient supply in relation to the growth rates of the dairy heifer and future lactation performance and longevity of the dry cow.
iii. Quantify the potential effects of the system on environmental standards, including for example soil structure, nutrient losses and water quality within the context of both climate change and milder winters and also both current and forthcoming legislation.
iv. To provide a Final Report, in plain English, including an Executive Summary, which clarifies the potential benefits and limitations of using brassicas for out wintering dairy cattle and also identifies where future studies are required to overcome either a lack of knowledge in specific areas or limitations of individual components within the system.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Forage Brassica for Out-Wintering Stock   (6214k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2006

To: 2007

Cost: £15,395
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Milk Development Council
Environmental Protection              
Water Quality              
Fields of Study
Water Quality