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 418557
Title Challenges in the nutrition and management of herbivores in the temperate zone
Author(s) Vuuren, A.M. van; Chilibroste, P.
Source In: Proceedings of the 8th International Symposium on the Nutrition of Herbivores (ISHN8), Aberystwyth, Wales UK, 6 - 9 September 2011. - Cambridge : Cambridge University Press - p. 573 - 573.
Event Cambridge : Cambridge University Press 8th International Symposium on the Nutrition of Herbivores (ISHN8), Aberystwyth, UK, 2011-09-06/2011-09-09
Department(s) Livestock Research
LR - Backoffice
Publication type Abstract in scientific journal or proceedings
Publication year 2011
Abstract The expected higher global demand for animal proteins and the competition for starch and sugars between food, fuel and feed seem to favour herbivores that convert solar energy captured in fibrous plants into animal products. However, the required higher production level of herbivores questions the sustainability of this conversion. An increase in herbivore production can be achieved by increasing the number of animals associated with the increasing demand of plant biomass or by improving the efficiency with which plant biomass is converted into meat and milk. The potential to increase food production by cattle, the main food-producing herbivore in the temperate zones outside China, was considered in three production systems: grassland-based, mixed rain-fed and mixed irrigated systems. The potential to increase plant biomass production in grassland-based systems seems limited, unless fertiliser is imported in large quantities and crop production is increased, sacrificing valuable, high-quality grasslands, which often conflicts with sustainable production methods. Also, in mixed systems with high inputs of fertiliser or water, improvements in plant biomass production seem marginal and the main challenges for these systems are in breeding high-quality plant biomass at lower levels of fertiliser and the use of new co-products from food processing and bio-based economies. Consequently, the main challenge in herbivore nutrition management is to improve the efficiency of plant biomass utilisation. Stocking rate management along with seasonal variation in the grazing capacity of grasslands and moderate use of fertiliser may increase meat production in grassland-based systems by 400%. Improving plant biomass utilisation in the more industrialised mixed rain-fed systems seems possible by better feed storage technologies and for dairy cattle by improving animal health and lifetime production level. Managing the transition period seems crucial to achieve more sustainable mixed rain-fed and mixed irrigated dairy production systems. Whether sustainable production methods will be implemented also depends on macro-economic conditions and awareness of regional and global environmental concerns.
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