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To identify and evaluate grassland management systems based on low inputs of fertiliser and utilisation of slurry - WA0504

This study will examine management strategies for grassland based on reduced fertiliser input and slurry utilisation which are capable of sustaining herbage and animal production at economic levels. The components of grassland management systems (such as conservation, grazing, fertiliser and slurry application) will be encompassed in self-contained farmlets (each of 1 ha) providing grazing and winter forage for a number of beef cattle. Farmlets will be established on 2 contrasting grassland soils (fully drained loam and impermeable soil). Three contrasting management systems will be investigated: application of fertiliser according to current ADAS recommendations; tactical N fertiliser based on regular analyses of soil mineral N; and a grass/white clover sward with no mineral N fertiliser application. Rates of slurry application will be based on estimates of the quantity of N excreted during the housed winter period by the liveweight of cattle inhabiting each farmlet. For each farmlet, determinations will be made of N losses through ammonia volatilisation, denitrification and nitrate leaching. N input/output relationships will be examined. Measurements of herbage and animal production will be made to allow economic appraisal of each management system. Results of the study will enhance understanding of the transformations, transfers and losses of N in livestock wastes and provide a sound scientific basis for the formulation of guidelines for environmentally acceptable waste management.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1993

To: 1997

Cost: £325,602
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Institute of Grassland and Environment Research (IGER)
Fields of Study
Environmental Protection - Agriculture