Opportunities for reducing the environmental impact of dairy farm managements: a systems approach

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Jarvis, S. C., Wilkins, R. J. and Pain, B. F. 1996. Opportunities for reducing the environmental impact of dairy farm managements: a systems approach. Grass and Forage Science. 51 (1), pp. 21-31.

AuthorsJarvis, S. C., Wilkins, R. J. and Pain, B. F.

Dairy farming systems are important sources for the emission of a number of materials that include various forms of nitrogen (NO3-, N2O and NH3) with potential environmental impact. The present paper is a systems synthesis study and assesses the likely impact of changes in management on N flows and losses, These include tactical fertilizer adjustment, slurry injection, maize silage production and the use of white clover as an alternative to fertilizer N. Implications for greenhouse gases (N2O and CH4) and support energy have also been considered. Substantial reductions in inputs and total and proportional losses by all the options considered were predicted by this study, Thus, using a tactical approach to fertilizer application and injecting slurry or using 50% maize silage reduced overall N losses from 160 (under conventional management) to 86 and 109 kg N ha(-1) respectively. Combining both possibilities reduced losses further to 69 kg ha(-1). Although use of white clover, especially at low contents in the sward, was the most effective regime to reduce losses, this was at some cost to production so that losses per livestock unit (LU) did not always differ from those under other managements, Changing the N management had consequences for greenhouse gas emission with an estimated maximum 70% reduction in N2O release. The effects on CH4 emissions were relatively small. Substantial reductions in support energy costs were also obtained: these arose mainly from the reduction in fertilizer N use, which represented 66% of the total support energy in the original system.

Year of Publication1996
JournalGrass and Forage Science
Journal citation51 (1), pp. 21-31
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1111/j.1365-2494.1996.tb02034.x
Open accessPublished as non-open access
Funder project or code35
Project: 2430 5107
Project: 2460 4037
Project: 2460 4411

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