The fields at Dairy Campus not only produce crops but also have a role to play for nature, the environment, climate and water management. Soil will be a cornerstone of our research in the years to come, and sustainable, integral soil management is crucial to this.
A healthy soil is an essential part of our operations. After all, it forms the basis for growing our crops, primarily grass. We will therefore be taking an in-depth look at various aspects of the soil over the next few years. These include optimising nutrient uptake, increasing organic matter content, using smarter cultivation systems involving growing a wider range of crops and more refined grazing of herb-rich grassland fields. We will also be focusing on optimising the use of manure as a nutrient and exploring site-specific manure application.
Our knowledge and innovation centre for dairy farming has a total of 300 hectares of clay soil at its disposal, most of which is heavy clay on peat.
At Dairy Campus we focus on:
- Improving the soil
- Increasing soil biodiversity and biodiversity in general
- Optimising fertilisation
- Working grassland following arable cropping principles **
Soil offers more than simply production land
Soil is not just land on which we produce our crops. It also plays a key role in combating the effects of climate change. Soil can absorb and retain greenhouse gases such as CO2 and N2O. This is a natural process that helps reduce the quantities of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These processes are complex, and changing the way we manage and use the soil can have a positive impact on them. At Dairy Campus we have the land, the knowledge and the data to work with researchers to identify where potential lies and what issues arise in this area.
Large amounts of data and knowledge available
Over the past few years we have collected large amounts of project and farm-level data, along with manure and soil samples from all our fields. We use this information to help to find answers to new practical and research questions. We can also see opportunities to make more use of our land as trial fields. On the operations side, we are starting to work with permanent traffic lanes and herb-rich grassland fields and improve our use of fertilisers using new technologies. By working together with research, education, knowledge institutes and businesses we can help to develop new knowledge and applications that will ensure sustainable and healthy soil management.