By Chantal Pope
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“We want to provide the best service to our members,” says Yves Kermarrec, vice-president of the Even group.
And since research devotes only a few resources to grass, Even has decided to tackle it, by setting up a test plot in Ploudaniel, at the foot of the dairy cooperative.
Seeded last fall, the trial is in place for three years. And on September 8, breeders were invited to discover the first results.
Whether they are in Sizun or Plouarzel, whether they have a large area accessible per cow or have to resort to green feeding, breeders have different expectations.
“Grass will allow them to adapt to the challenges of the moment, by improving the fodder and protein autonomy of livestock and biodiversity, by storing carbon, by improving animal well-being”, Jean-Marc list Le Roy, managing director of Even upstream. It is still necessary to find the species or the mixtures adapted to each sector, to each use of the grass, via grazing, green feeding, the constitution of stocks…
An efficient and resilient grassland
To provide an answer to everyone, Even has set up a trial devoted to selection and varietal mixtures. From sowing until December 31, the micro-plots were photographed regularly, to measure the speed of establishment and the speed of soil cover, “an important criterion to prevent weeds from developing time”, reminds Jean- Baptiste Moussière, director of Even agri.
From 1er January at the first mowing, the height of the grass was measured every 15 days, in order to estimate its growth. “Then we made three mowings, measured the yield and analyzed the quality of the forage harvested”. With a clear objective: “to obtain an efficient and resilient grassland”, details Even agri. As the summers look drier, the stakes are high! “We can clearly see that certain mixtures spread more quickly than others, with the first rains”.
“In a few months, the ammonium nitrate went from 340 to 980 €/t! Is it always interesting to fertilize a meadow? »
In a context of soaring energy and fertilizer prices, Even agri is also testing six different fertilization strategies, trying to get rid of nitrogen, the most energy-intensive to produce.
If the first results have already been communicated to visitors, the test will remain in place for two more years, which will allow them to be refined. “The idea is also to make our members aware of grass,” adds Yves Kermarrec. “With 200 days of grazing on average, this is already the signature of our cooperative. It is a culture of the future, but it is very technical. And we need references.
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