In May 2014, EIP-AGRI launched the Focus Group ‘Profitability of permanent grassland’. It aimed to assess how to manage permanent grassland in a way that combined profitability, carbon sequestration and biodiversity.
“Any management action in permanent grasslands can potentially have a significant impact on the sustainability of the vegetation cover and animal production” stated Koldo Osoro, coordinating expert of the Focus Group.
Nevertheless, the Focus Group identified seven common key issues to focus on for a sustainable management of permanent grassland:
- Defining a grassland typology in relation to biodiversity and productivity
- Achieving grassland production and quality that matches livestock needs
- Benchmarking grassland dry matter production and utilisation at regional and national levels
- Increasing grassland functionality by diversifying sward plant composition
- Increasing resource efficiency (i.e. nutrients recycling, dry matter utilisation labour) to improve profitability and sustainability
- Evaluating the environmental impacts of grassland-based systems using life cycle thinking
- Differentiating grass-based products, such as meat, milk and cheese, for higher market value: linking quality traits and management practices related to the ecosystem services
On this last aspect, the report mentions specifically the potential of permanent grassland for mountain areas where: “there are livestock production systems based on permanent grasslands which are managed without fertilizers, pesticides or even treatments against parasites, using local rustic and well adapted breeds, producing singular produce with special sensorial and nutritive qualities”.
Based on the fact that they respond to organic production systems in spite of lacking official recognition, one of the recommendations of that focus group was to relocate these products into the “organic produce market”.
The report further stresses that: “products from marginal or less favoured areas in Europe, particularly in mountainous areas, can also play an important role connecting rural culture with urban one, and consequently rural people will be valued properly according to their importance for the actual society”.
This report will be of key interest for the new project OREKA MENDIAN, a new Life project of HAZI, where Euromontana is involved on permanent grassland in mountain areas (project will start soon).
To have access to the Focus Group page on the EIP-AGRI website and to read the final report and the factsheet, click here.2 May 2016