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Open AccessArticle

The Effect of Kurzrasen and Strip-Grazing on Grassland Performance and Soil Quality of a Peat Meadow

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Louis Bolk Institute, Kosterijland 3–5, 3981 AJ Bunnik, The Netherlands
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Animal Nutirition, Wageningen University and Research, 6708 WD Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Agrosystems Research, Wageningen Plant Research, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Animal Health & Welfare, Wageningen Livestock Research, 6708 WD Wageningen, The Netherlands
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KTC Zegveld, Oude Meije 18, 3474 KM Zegveld, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6283; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226283
Received: 11 October 2019 / Revised: 31 October 2019 / Accepted: 4 November 2019 / Published: 8 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Grazing Systems)
Due to the increased herd size in the Netherlands, there is need to assess the performance of different grazing systems at high stocking densities. The objective of the current experiment was to assess the effect of two extreme grazing systems, kurzrasen (continuous grazing at 3–5 cm sward height) and strip-grazing at a high stocking rate, on grass production and quality, grass morphology and sward density, root development and load bearing capacity on peat soil. To this end, a two-year grazing trial with four herds of 15 cows on 2 ha each was conducted. Kurzrasen showed 18% lower herbage dry matter production on average compared to strip-grazing. The yield penalty of using a shorter regrowth period under kurzrasen was limited due to the strong response in grass morphology, resulting in a dense and lamina-rich sward. There was a small decline in root density at 10 cm soil depth, but no evidence of a lower root density at 20 cm soil depth for kurzrasen compared to strip-grazing. Sward density was higher for kurzrasen compared to strip-grazing, which had a positive impact on load bearing capacity. This is an important feature on peat soils, where load bearing capacity is often limited. View Full-Text
Keywords: grazing systems; swards; load bearing capacity; root density; nutritional value grazing systems; swards; load bearing capacity; root density; nutritional value
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Hoekstra, N.; Holshof, G.; Schils, R.; Philipsen, B.; van Reenen, K.; van Houwelingen, K.; van Eekeren, N. The Effect of Kurzrasen and Strip-Grazing on Grassland Performance and Soil Quality of a Peat Meadow. Sustainability 2019, 11, 6283.

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