Healthy soil lifts animal weight

Apr 16, 2018

Managing soil by well-designed grazing is the key to an animal’s growth and wellbeing shows new research that links soil health, pasture value and sustainable production Individual pastures on livestock farms yield surprisingly dissimilar benefits to a farm’s overall agricultural income, and those differences are most likely attributable to the varying levels of “soil health” provided by its grazing livestock, reveals a study published today. The study, produced by an interdisciplinary team of 13 scientists and two PhD students from Rothamsted Research, evaluates how efficiently nutrients are used on a livestock farm, on a field-by-field basis for the first time, and links soil health to animal growth. The team has developed a method to derive the contribution of individual fields to an animal’s growth and, in the process, has opened up the possibility of using field-scale metrics as indicators of animal performance and agricultural productivity. The findings appear in the journal Animal. “The prospect that commercial livestock producers could improve their productivity by purely changing rotational patterns is exciting,” says... ...

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