On 4th and 5th of July 2023, the Summer School on Grass-based animal production in Europe took place.
The Summer School started with a get together where participants got to know each other and where the guests informed the hosts on their respective working topics at home universities. There were participants from Slovenia, Spain and Germany.
After that, the first day was packed with different presentations on the general summer school topic. There were presentations on the use of rising plate meters in intensive and extensive grassland; productivity and water saving capacity of silvopastoral systems in Europe; the assessment and importance of bite item diversity on extensively grazed grassland; land use equivalency and ecological footprint of extensive beef production in Germany; sheep production, sheep behavior and vegetation analyses of alpine grasslands; ruminant livestock systems modelling approaches and assessment of livestock performance from grass as outlined by the dairy production system. The evening took place at the Kartoffelhaus Göttingen for a nice and cozy dinner.
The second day consisted of a field trip to the experimental farm of the University of Göttingen where participants visited the long-term grazing experiment FORBIOBEN in the Solling Uplands. Here the vegetation heterogeneity as influenced by patch-grazing and grazing intensity was presented. Thereafter, approaches of determining belowground biomass, soil organic carbon and aboveground community standing herbage biomass were presented and trained. After a short lunch on the go, one practical extensive beef production farm was visited. The farm is involved with suckler cow production using cross-breds of Limousin, Fleckvieh or Angus cows crossed with White-Blue Belgian bulls with the cows being kept mainly on grassland (summer grazing, winter silage feeding). The resulting fattening bulls were visited in the confinement. Fattening consists of maize and imported concentrate feeding. Afterwards an intensive dairy farm was visited. The farm has an average milk production of 12.0000 kg per cow per year and uses a robot.
Watch below some photos of the Summer School: