Science - March 17, 2005

Organic cattle should spend longer inside

Organic farmers keep their cattle as long as possible out in the fields, and consumers of organic dairy products are also in favour of this. Nevertheless there are important reasons to bring the animals inside earlier, according to researchers at Aver Heino, the organic dairy farming centre of the Animal Sciences Group.

The most important advantage to a shorter outside grazing period is that less manure and urine is deposited on the soil. Project leader, Matteo de Visser: ‘The urine increases nitrogen levels enormously. The longer the animals are in the field the more nitrates leach into the soil. It just goes to show, organic is not necessarily environment-friendly.’ / HB

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