The forage yield and quality and the growth of beef calves were examined in a 3-year study on four farms on coastalmeadows of the Bothnian Bay, Finland. The forage yield at the end of June (1704 kg dry matter ha−1 in average) was considerably lower than that of cultivated grasslands, whereas the nutritional quality of the forage was approximately at the same level. The daily gain of calves on coastalmeadows was 1 kg day−1 on average. The calves raised on the coastalmeadows had equal live weights as the beef calves of the same age in northern Finland in general. The interaction between breed and pasture type tended to be significant, indicating that Simmental was capable of slightly better utilisation of coastalmeadows than Limousin. Calculation of the nutrient budget showed that the amount of P entering the coastalmeadows with creep feeding (0.046 kg ha−1 year−1) constituted a minor proportion of the total P load. Eutrophication of grazed semi-natural grasslands can be most effectively prevented with reasonable usage of additional minerals. The use of a suitable type of livestock and stocking rate and the timing of the grazing season were considered to be important aspects for adjusting the biodiversity management and livestock performance on coastalmeadows.
Fields of Science
- 1183 Plant biology, microbiology, virology