SCIENTIFIC THEMES

Crop physiology, plant breeding and nutrient utilization

New scientific knowledge of plant physiology and genetics allow us to develop and cultivate plants so that future demands for grassland production can be met. Session focuses on strengthening the scientific background for grassland agronomy by bringing together new scientific knowledge of yield formation, plant breeding, and efficiency of nutrient, radiation and water use efficiency. Research concerning novel forage crops and novel use of existing species and cultivars are included.

Grasses in animal nutrition

Currently ruminant production is facing strong challenges regarding environmental impacts and economy of production. The session focuses on the role of grasslands in climate smart ruminant nutrition. The session covers grazed grass, conserved feeding and silage as well as grasses in equine nutrition and novel methods of assessing feeding value.

Grasslands  and environment

Grasslands have a major impact on the environment throughout Europe due to the large allocation of European agricultural land for grassland production. However, the impact they have on the atmosphere, soil, water, and biota vary regionally. The session topics include carbon sequestration, GHG and ammonium emissions, nutrient load to groundwater and surface water bodies, and ecosystem services provided by grasslands such as biodiversity and soil structure. Presentations on agricultural and environmental policy related to grassland production are also welcomed to the session.

Novel technologies in farm management and economy

European grassland farming has undergone major changes in last decades and economical drivers have led to using more maize and other annual crops in ruminant production. The session focuses on the role of grasslands in farm economy in the changing world including production economy, farm management and local food systems. Agricultural economy models have developed during recent years significantly but they are often applicable only to certain production systems in restricted regions. Recent progress on the models will be one topic of the session.

Technological advances will provide farmers with innovative technological solutions and a new level of data management to increase the efficiency and economy of grassland production. The session focuses on indirect yield estimation, remote sensing, big data and farm management tools. In addition technological advances in alternative use of grass for eg. biorefining and bioenergy technology are included, too.

Knowledge transfer and consumer perceptions

Farmers are becoming more connected with each other and with research not just regionally but also on European and global level. The session focuses on elaborating the methods and ways that we could utilize better in communication between research, advisory services, industry, farmers and consumers. The session welcomes especially presentations on experiences with digital platforms and media, farmer groups brought together e.g. by advisory services and novel effective educational approaches.