Herb-rich grassland is in the spotlight. Dairy farmers are increasingly discovering the positive sides of grassland with a great diversity of herbs, legumes and grasses.
In the 'Cows and Herbs' project, Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences, the Louis Bolk Institute and the "Vlinderstichting' (Butterfly Foundation) have conducted research over the past four years into the added value of extensively managed herb-rich grassland on dairy farms. A great deal of information was given during the study to provide the parties involved with knowledge. This is done by field meetings, study groups, newsletters and demonstrations.
On 7 June, the results of four years of research into herb-rich grassland were presented. More than 100 people were present online at the final presentation of the 'Cows and Herbs' project. During the meeting, Anne Jansma (Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences) talked about the effect of herb-rich grassland on biodiversity. Nyncke Hoekstra (Louis Bolk Institute) then presented the results of the trial on Dairy Campus. Here, the effect of different mixtures and management methods has been investigated. Anthonie Stip (Vlinderstichting) stimulated the participants to think about another way of mowing grassland, namely sinus management (mowing with a few beers; winding mowing paths). Anne Jansma (Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences) then told more about the construction and management of herb-rich grassland.
Tasty texture source
The research shows that more large insects and a higher diversity of ground beetles, for example, occur on grassland rich in herbs. In addition, herb-rich grass has added value in the ration, especially on intensive farms. With well-coordinated management, it is suitable for a large group of both extensive and intensive dairy farmers in the Netherlands. Provided it is harvested under the right conditions, the herb-rich management grass is a good and tasty source of structure for livestock. For example, insects, meadow birds and cows benefit from grassland rich in herbs.