1 December 2016

Diversified fodder for dairy cows at Lusignan in France

The cows at the Lusignan are given access to a range of fodder sources

The INRA Lusignan Experimental Centre in Western France is leading research on the use of alternative fodder for dairy cows. AGFORWARD researcher Sandra Novak hosted a visit by Paul Burgess (Cranfield University), Fabien Balaguer (AFAF), Javier Poza Llorente (Spanish Small Farmers Union), and Maria Eugenia Ramos-Font (National Research Council of Spain) on 1 December 2016. The Experimental Centre has started a 20 year project plan (called OasYs) to develop a mixed crop-dairy system based on agro-ecological principles. This includes the diversification of both forage resources and the genetic basis of the dairy herd. The project, started in 2013, covers 90 ha and involves 72 dairy cows.

The dairy cows are rotated on a series of paddocks. Some of the paddocks comprise diversified grass species but others include high stem trees (i.e. pear, honey locust, and service trees), pollards that can be browsed (i.e. white mulberry and Italian alder), and coppiced trees (i.e. goat willow, field elm, black locust, and grey alder). Other paddocks include boundary hedgerows and fodder liana (e.g. vines). In addition, Sandra and her team are also researching the spatial organization of trees and tree protection methods. The layout of the experiments is described by Novak et al. (2016a, b) and some initial results are presented by Novak and Emile (2015). Although the visit occurred in early December, it was impressive to see the full extent of this long-term research.

The layout is designed to provide the cows with a diversified range of fodder

Novak, S. and Emile, J-C. (2015). Contribution to Deliverable 5.13: Detailed system description of a case study: Agroforestry for Livestock farmers (Agroforestry for ruminants in France). AGFORWARD. 13 pp.

Novak, S., Liagre, F., Emile, J.C., (2016a). Integrating agroforestry into an innovative mixed crop-dairy system. 3rd European Agroforestry Conference. INRA, Montpellier, 23-25 Mai 2016, France pp. 396-398.

Novak, S., Emile, J.C. (2016b). PowerPoint presentation on “Integrating agroforestry into an innovative mixed crop-dairy system”. INRA Lusignan Experimental Unit, Lusignan, France. 33 pp.

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