Despite the many known advantages of grassland diversity (in terms of flora at the plot and forage system levels) for the agroecological transition of ruminant farms, the one concerning animal health is the subject of many questions from farmers and advisors. In response, the objectives of this project are:
- To characterise the animal health value of grasslands (plot) on the basis of the content of secondary metabolite compounds as a function of floristic diversity, vegetative stage and conservation (silage and hay);
- To understand how farmers conceive and implement the role of grassland diversity (plot and forage system) in feeding, welfare, health and animal robustness, and build with them indicators for managing this diversity on the basis of the project results.
Two types of references on grassland diversity should be produced at the end of the project:
- Indicators of the health value of fresh and conserved grass in relation to the fine composition of diversified grassland cover;
- Indicators for monitoring grassland diversity for animal health at the forage system level, co-constructed with farmers, advisors, and vets.
The work carried out will provide a better understanding of the health value of diversity on a representative sample of grasslands and livestock farms in France at two levels of analysis: the grassland (in relation to its floristic composition) and the livestock farm (in relation to the diversity of the grasslands and the way in which the farmers use it). The references produced will thus feed both existing reference systems, with an effort to generalise the results obtained, but also advisory and training systems (brochures, videos, prototype smartphone application, training module). Ultimately, the expected result is to make it possible to reduce livestock inputs, particularly medicines, through the use of grasslands while improving the overall performance of the systems.
Practices, floristic diversity, animal health, forage system, management indicators, co-design
1 September 2021 – 28 February 2025 (42 months)
Sébastien Couvreur, USC URSE
ESA (USC ESA-INRAE 1481 systèmes d’élevage, USC ESA-INRAE 1422 Grappe) ; INRAE (UMR INRAE VetAgroSup 1213 Herbivores, UE INRAE 1414 Herbipôle (Marcenat) ; Université de Lorraine (ENSAIA) ; Institut de l’Elevage : Départements techniques d’élevage et environnement ; Chambre Régionale d’Agriculture des Pays de Loire ; Chambre d’Agriculture de Haute-Saône ; CIIRPO site du Mourier ; Ferme expérimentale de Thorigné d’Anjou ; ADAR-Civam ; EPLEFPA Château Salins ; EPLEFPA Aurillac ; EPLEFPA Vesoul.