Sustainable Homegrown Feeds
Distance learning begins January 2018.
Arable crops are often a key part of pasture-based agriculture, yet their selection and management are likely to be driven by very different requirements than those of intensive arable situations. This module focusses on developing appropriate management approaches to the maintenance and building of soil fertility whilst maximising livestock productivity, to deliver a system that is both resilient and sustainable. You will explore rotational farming practices in the context of mixed farming systems and examine different crop options and their suitability for different situations and regions, their use in the feed ration, and crop management approaches. The environmental and economic implications of different management practices will also be evaluated in context with current UK and European policy.
The module’s units consist of:
- Overview of mixed farming systems and soil health – assessment of current mixed-farming systems; identification of good and bad practices and their impacts on soil health.
- Crop rotation - regulatory and environmental context: examination of current UK legislation and its impact on crop rotation.
- Building soil fertility – the management of crop rotation to ensure soil health is maintained; the benefits of cover crops.
- Cultivation and harvest options - consequences of cultivation and harvest operations on nutrient and soil management.
- Plant health and weed control – management of crop disease, weeds and pests using crop rotation.
- Economic evaluation - the economic justification for home grown feed.
- Maize - whole crop, corn cob mix and crimped maize.
- Protein crops - evaluation of common protein crops, including red clover, lucerne, lupins and sainfoin.
- Cereal and brassica crops - use of whole-crop, crimped grain and grain in the feed ration.
- Short-term grass leys - assessment of short term grass leys with focus on Italian ryegrass and Festulolium.
Contributing Researchers: Dr Christina Marley, Dr Iwan Owen, Rhun Fychan, Dr Joanna Mathews, Dr Dylan Philips, Dr Dave Styles, Prof Mike Christie, Dr Jane Thomas, Ron Stobart, Phil Humphrey, Hamish Mulcock, Nathan Morris.
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