Pilot study on farming practices of Simmental dairy farms in Slovakia
Keywords:farming practise, GHG, ammonia, Simmental
The pilot survey among 36 Simmental cattle breeders in Slovakia was performed by an expert visiting farms and filling a questionnaire with farm managers. Data on the factors that influence the emission factors of ammonia, methane or nitrous oxide are needed to provide support for sustainable livestock production policies. Highest milk production (8305±828 kg) was found in the group with intensive production system comprising 7078 cows. Extensive systems were represented by only 2 farms with 451 cows producing 5527±1094 kg of milk. All farms used phase feeding, only 15% of all cows in the survey were grazing. The dominant way of handling animal waste was solid manure with straw bedding (30 farms), while slurry prevailed for the remaining farms. There were 8 farms (2095 cows) equipped with surface covered tanks, bags or using natural crust to reduce emission from slurry storage. Median emission factors of a dairy cow based on survey data were 137.21 kg, 0.850 kg and 50.79 kg per year for methane, nitrous oxide and ammonia, respectively. When aggregated by manure management, cows producing solid manure had a lower emission factor for methane but higher for ammonia and nitrous oxide compared to cows under liquid manure management. Linking data from various aspects of dairy production at farm level supports holistic approach as important for evaluation of food systems in the future.
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