Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 407063
Title Participatory farm management adaptations to reduce environmental impact on commercial pilot dairy farms in the Netherlands
Author(s) Oenema, J.; Keulen, H. van; Schils, R.L.M.; Aarts, H.F.M.
Source NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 58 (2011)1-2. - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 39 - 48.
Department(s) PPO/PRI AGRO Duurzame Bedrijfssystemen
Plant Production Systems
SS - Soil Quality and Nutrients
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2011
Keyword(s) nitrogen use efficiency - nutrient management - european-community - systems - opportunities - regulations - perceptions - performance - strategies - balances
Abstract Regulations in the Netherlands with respect to nutrient use force dairy farmers to improve nutrient management at the whole-farm level. On experimental farm ‘De Marke’, a coherent set of simple measures at farm level has been implemented, which has resulted in a drastic reduction in input of nutrients without affecting production intensity (milk production; kg milk per ha). To promote adoption of these measures in commercial dairy farming, the project ‘Cows & Opportunities’ was initiated in which 16 commercial pilot farms participated. Data were collected over a 6-year period (1998–2003). This paper describes and analyses the different farm management strategies adopted on these farms, using two classifications of the farms at the start of the project (the base situation), one based on nitrogen (N) surplus (kg ha-1), the other on production intensity. In both classifications, the farms were split in two equal groups. Changes over time in farm characteristics (farm development) were described through linear regression for each group and the variance among farms within a group was used to test for differences between groups. Under the influence of economic driving forces, the pilot farms, on average, expanded land area and increased their milk quota. However, the most intensive farms could comply with regulations only by reducing production intensity. From 1998 to 2002, average nutrient surpluses on the pilot farms decreased by 33% for N and 53% for phosphorus (P). Important measures were reducing the use of inorganic fertilizer, optimizing the use of home-produced organic manure, reducing grazing time, reducing the number of replacement stock and lowering crude protein content in the ration. Over the years, variation in N surpluses among farms (inter-farm variation) remained almost constant. Differences in farm management strategy could not unequivocally be related to farm typology (high/low N surplus; high/low production intensity). It was concluded that decisions by individual farmers on farm development are not always based on ‘rational’ arguments, but are co-determined by ‘emotional’ perceptions.
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