Eva Salomon, Ingrid Wesström og Maria Wivstad
Our starting point is organic production in Sweden but all agricultural production was seriously affected during 2018 so it is valuable for all to share knowledge and experiences about different strategies used to face the situation. Harvested and grazed leys grew miserably bad already early in the season and resulted in acute lack of fodder. The cereals had a premature ripening and to save something, larger areas than usually were harvested as whole crop feed for the animals. At extreme drought the crop does not grow without irrigation, which most farmers do not have access to. Large areas were not harvested at all due to crop failure. To be able to keep the cattle, the animals were fed with new kinds of fodder and pasture crops that farmers and advisors did not have any experience of. The cattle performed well eating the emergency fodder but production of milk and beef declined. The acute actions have been costly for farmers with dairy and beef production and for the coming year 2019 many have no fodder storages. The organic farmer’s focus is now to produce and build up a fodder storage with different strategies, for example increased areas with fodder production to have a larger buffer. A cause for this action is also that a high feed self-sufficiency is required in organic regulations. Advisors for organic farming asks for more knowledge about new feed crops and which amounts the animal can eat with maintained animal health and production levels. Organic farmers and advisors also want to develop grazing systems that secure fodder demands. It could be sowing a complementing crop after harvest, which grow during autumn and can be grazed or harvested. Harvested and grazed ley with clover and grasses is the main crop on organic dairy and beef farms. Ley grown two or more years in the crop rotation is a cultivation with good prerequisites to adapt to extreme weather conditions. At the same time knowledge is lacking on which ley species and mixtures have a high ability to recover after stress, for example flooding at spring and drought later in the summer. There is an interest among organic farmers to develop cropping systems with crops for both feed and food that are deep rooted and recover after wet as well as dry conditions. There is a need to develop preventive measures to hamper the stress on e.g. cereals, oil seed crops and pulses at drought. It could be combinations of measures, such as spring ploughing together with animal manure application, sowing and thereafter irrigation at crop emergence to secure a harvest. The organic farmers’ also asks for development of flexible cultivation systems where it is possible to establish a complementing crop later in the season when the rainfall is more frequent, if the main crop dried off. Cultivation systems that promotes soil fertility is a basis for adapting agriculture to climate change. However, there is a lack of knowledge in how to combine preventive and direct measure in the best way to promote soil fertility. A crucial preventive work is to develop cultivation methods and cropping systems that create a favorable soil structure for crop growth with high infiltration capacity. Measures on arable land need to be combined with measures on landscape level to hamper high water flows, increase low water flows and enhance the ground water formation within a watershed area. There is a need to update recommendations for design and maintenance of drainage systems on arable land and in the landscape to be able to hamper effects of heavy rains or flooding. New knowledge is needed about expected changes in precipitation and run-off intensity and how this will affect the performance of drainage systems considering changed cropping systems and impact on the environment, such as risk of eutrophication. Annual and especially spring sown crops have higher demands on plant available water amounts in spring and early summer. More knowledge is needed about when and how to irrigate, especially in cereals. Ley is a perennial crop and can withstand drought better, but supplementary irrigation can increase yields substantially. If irrigation can be done at the right time and right place it is possible to save water.
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