Special Issue "Sustainable Grazing Systems"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 December 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. A (Agnes) Van den Pol-van Dasselaar
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands / Aeres University of Applied Sciences, Dronten, the Netherlands
Interests: animal production systems; climate change; crop husbandry; grasslands; plant production systems; soil fertility; soil sciences; mitigation; management; forage; greenhouse gases; grazing
Dr. Deirdre Hennessy
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Teagasc, Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland
Interests: grass growth; grazing management; milk production from grazed pasture; white clover; environmental sustainability
Prof. Dr. Johannes Isselstein
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Crop Sciences, Grassland Science, Georg-August-University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany
Interests: grazing; biodiversity; grazer-sward interaction

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will comprise a selection of papers addressing the importance of sustainable grass-based systems. More and more, citizens demand a sustainable agricultural production. In this respect, grazing is of particular importance. First, grasslands occupy a vast area of agricultural lands and grazing systems are therefore important components of the landscape in almost all European countries. Second, grass is the main feed for dairy cattle in Europe. Grazing ruminants are capable of transforming feed (a resource that could otherwise not be used by humans), into human edible food and are thus important for food production. Next to producing food, grazing systems deliver a large number of other ecosystem services. Grazing systems contribute to, e.g., soil carbon sequestration, biodiversity, beauty of the landscape, maintaining populations in rural areas, conservation of soil quality and supply of feed protein at farm level. To ensure a continuation of grazing on future dairy farms, we need to optimize the grazing system, from a technical, socio-economic and environmental perspective, and we need to do this tailor-made and region specific. Novel grazing systems are needed that: i) are technically and socially feasible for dairy farms in different regions, and ii) are economically viable and environmentally sound. This requires an analysis of the technical, socio-economic and environmental performance of present and novel grazing systems from different stakeholder perspectives. Selected papers should contribute to this analysis.

Dr. A (Agnes) van den Pol-van Dasselaar
Dr. Deirdre Hennessy
Prof. Dr. Johannes Isselstein
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • grazing
  • ecosystem services
  • biodiversity
  • forage
  • carbon sequestration
  • mineral cycling
  • sustainability

Published Papers (4 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Kurzrasen and Strip-Grazing on Grassland Performance and Soil Quality of a Peat Meadow
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6283; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226283 - 08 Nov 2019
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Grazing Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Amazing Grazing: A Public and Private Partnership to Stimulate Grazing Practices in Intensive Dairy Systems
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5868; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205868 - 22 Oct 2019
Abstract
In many intensive dairy regions in northwest Europe, a decline in grazing is observed. In the Netherlands, the proportion of dairy cows with access to pasture is declining, as well as the time spent grazing per cow. The decline in grazing is seen [...] Read more.
In many intensive dairy regions in northwest Europe, a decline in grazing is observed. In the Netherlands, the proportion of dairy cows with access to pasture is declining, as well as the time spent grazing per cow. The decline in grazing is seen as an unwanted trend by many stakeholders and is, thus, under debate amongst dairy farmers, the dairy chain, and society. Therefore, a public–private partnership was initiated to encourage grazing by providing farmers with usable means of improving their grazing systems. The partnership involved stakeholders from the dairy farming community, dairy and feed industry, agrotechnical industries, advisory services, and research. The objective of this partnership was to develop and stimulate technological innovations and management measures that increase fresh grass intake at pasture. The innovation network combined an integrated research approach with farmer working groups and broader stakeholder interactive meetings. The project started with a comprehensive grass intake framework, which was the foundation for exploration of innovations. The framework consisted of six interlinked components: soil, grass growth, grass supply, grass intake, feed supplementation, and cow behavior. In a continuous interactive cycle, strategic choices were made to focus on potentially effective innovations. The use of a public–private partnership to develop usable innovations that encourage grazing practices proven to be a good approach to develop a shared vision among stakeholders. It provided a basis to work together toward innovative practices and to disseminate the outcomes to the foreseen users. The approach succeeded in design concepts for two specific innovations, i.e., weekly grass growth predictions and daily fresh grass intake tracking. We demonstrated that meaningful grazing and fresh grass intake are possible in intensive dairy systems with high stocking rates and high levels of supplementary feeding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Grazing Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Evolution of Grazing Practices in Belgian Dairy Farms: Results of Two Surveys
Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 3997; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11153997 - 24 Jul 2019
Abstract
Numerous publications have highlighted the potential role of grassland in the mitigation of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the agricultural sector. Yet, the preservation of grassland is included in the main objectives of the greening policies of the European Union (EU). To [...] Read more.
Numerous publications have highlighted the potential role of grassland in the mitigation of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the agricultural sector. Yet, the preservation of grassland is included in the main objectives of the greening policies of the European Union (EU). To assess how this greening program has influenced the behaviour and perceptions of the dairy sector, two surveys were foreseen during the project LIFE dairyclim and sent to all the dairy farmers of Wallonia (Belgium) at three-year intervals (2016 – 2019). The answer rates reached 32.6%. Questions concerned four topics: General farm description, grazing practices, perceptions and expectations, and general grassland management. Following the results of these surveys, a large majority of lactating dairy cows grazed in Wallonia (96.5%). The main differences between 2016 and 2019 were the increase in size of the dairy farms in terms of surface (77.2 ha in 2016 to 84.4 ha in 2019) and production, the disappearance of small farms of less than 60 cows, and the progression of the organic sector from 9.3% to 11.7%. Perceptions of farmers on grazing differed following their grazing practices: No-grazing farmers were very sceptical about the advantages of grazing. On the opposite hand, organic farmers were very enthusiastic. Awareness of farmers about the preservation of landscape and the image of the sector for the consumers has increased during the three-year period. The requirements of the dairy industry and authorities were cited as incentives to keep grazing. The expectations of the farmers differed from 2016 to 2019 with a smaller proportion desiring to increase their grazing practices and more, staying stable. These results seem to indicate that the support of farmers and the involvement of authorities and stakeholders could contribute to maintain grazing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Grazing Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Resilience in Mountain Farming in Norway
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3476; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123476 - 25 Jun 2019
Abstract
The concept of socio-ecological farm resilience is used to understand how farmers manoeuvre in a context of change, what choices and priorities they make, and how that subsequently influences the development of the farming landscape. The author uses farm resilience, the capabilities of [...] Read more.
The concept of socio-ecological farm resilience is used to understand how farmers manoeuvre in a context of change, what choices and priorities they make, and how that subsequently influences the development of the farming landscape. The author uses farm resilience, the capabilities of buffering, adaptation and transformation, and the response of bouncing back or forward as a conceptual frame in a study of farmers in a mountain community in Norway. Interviews were held with selected farmers. The results indicated that the resilience framework is useful in order to understand farmers’ priorities and situations. The author finds that the responses and decisions are in line with all three capabilities as well as with bouncing back and forward. However, most responses were categorized as bouncing back (i.e. adjustments and changes) but the logic of the farm system remained the same. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Grazing Systems)
Back to TopTop