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 60746
Title Dairy farming in the Netherlands in transition towards more efficient nutrient use
Author(s) Bruchem, J. van; Schiere, H.; Keulen, H. van
Source Livestock Production Science 61 (1999)2-3. - ISSN 0301-6226 - p. 145 - 153.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0301-6226(99)00064-0
Department(s) Animal Production Systems
Theoretical Production Ecology
Plant Research International
Wageningen University
WIAS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 1999
Abstract In the Netherlands, agriculture as a whole is not environmentally sustainable. It contributes to the emission of greenhouse gases (~ 15%), acid rain (~ 50%) and groundwater pollution (~ 85%). The surplus of phosphate, averaged over the area of cultivated land amounting to ~40 kg P ha-1, originates ~30 and ~40% from dairy farming and pigs, respectively. Nitrogen surpluses, amounting to ~350 kg ha-1, contribute to ammonia, N2O and NO(x) volatilization and nitrate leaching, levels that exceed present and future standards. Dairy farming contributes ~ 55% of the nitrogen losses. Despite their genetic potential and advanced diet formulation, the efficiency with which animals convert nutrients into animal products remains rather low. A major part of the nutrients is excreted in faeces and urine. Hence, there is an urgent need for more sustainable nutrient management at higher hierarchical levels for production systems in WhiCh the inputs are tuned to the carrying capacity of the agro-ecosystem and the internal nutrients in animal manure, e.g. N and P, are used more efficiently. The paper discusses the effectiveness of management practices to reduce the nutrient losses, along with aspects of system behaviour. Nutrient flows of dairy farms are analysed and the most effective interventions identified to (1) maintain level of production while (2) reducing the nutrient losses to environmentally acceptable levels. Finally, results/projections of prototype experimental farms are discussed.
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