Sustainable grassland management by means of graduated grassland farming

ARGE Abgestufter Wiesenbau

Topic area
Agriculture and forestry, incl. value chain
Environment, biodiversity, nature conservation
Climate protection and climate change
Innovation

Disaggregation level
Agriculture
Innovation
Climate protection
Climate change adaptation
Biodiversity
Nature conservation
Business management
Value added
Soil
EIP European Innovation Partnership

Project region
Upper Austria
Styria

LE– Programming Period
LE 14–20

Project period
2016-2018

Priority
EN - 16.02.1. Unterstützung bei der Entwicklung neuer Erzeugnisse, Verfahren & Technologien der Land-, Ernährungs- & Forstwirtschaft

Project initiator
ARGE Abgestufter Wiesenbau

Short description

ARGE Abgestufter Wiesenbau is a pilot project for implementing the concept of graduated grassland farming.

Point of departure

The increase in the frequency of use on grassland and the equable management of all or the major part of areas on a holding constitutes a development which takes place everywhere in grassland areas where the climatic conditions permit it. This applies to conventional farms and organic farms likewise. By means of this equable utilisation of grassland areas with uniform cutting dates there are, in the case of a high cutting frequency, problems with the nutrient supply (fertilization ceilings and/or too little fertilizer on organic farms). The differentiated management, however, enables a yield-oriented utilisation of certain areas without getting into conflict with restrictions on fertilisation and/or a respective distribution of the farm‘s own farmyard manure on the existing areas. Moreover, increased cutting frequency reduces the diversity of species. Graduated grassland farming has the potential of increasing biodiversity at farm level. As the concept of graduated grassland farming faces in practice several obstacles (e.g. suitability of areas for yield-oriented and/or extensive management) ARGE Abgestufter Wiesenbau carries out a project in this field in order to develop a practice-proof concept for the implementation of graduated grassland farming.

Targets and target groups

  • Establishment and/or preservation of high-performance plant populations in yield-oriented areas
  • Adapted fertilisation and utilisation of yield-oriented areas, establishment and/or preservation of an appropriate extent of cultivated meadows individually adapted to the respective holding Reasonable use of different qualities of forage on the farm
  • Streamlined harvest and storage opportunities for the different qualities of forage on the farm
  • Increase and/or preservation (depending on the starting position) of the diversity of species at farm level
  • Improved social acceptance


Project implementation and measures

The planned project period is three years. In the first year model holdings shall be selected, the status quo on the model holdings identified, proposals on the implementation of graduated grassland farming shall be worked out, and the implementation of graduated grassland farming on model farms shall be started. In the second year the implementation of graduated grassland farming will be continued and in the third year there will be the evaluation of the implementation from various points of view as well as public relations measures.

Results and effects

In the course of the project a planning tool has been developed, by means of which a fertiliser and area management adapted to the individual needs of the farm can be calculated and planned a priori. The resulting tailor-made management concept of a farm can finally be applied in practice and implemented. Even adaptations, which have turned out to be necessary subsequently, e.g. due to a change of livestock, loss or area or increase in area etc. can be rapidly planned and illustrated by means of the tool. The calculation tool will be connected to the fertilizer calculator of the Chamber of Agriculture and can be acquired free-of-charge via the website of the Chamber of Agriculture (presumably from March 2019 onwards).