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The challenges of sustainable livestock farming

Ensuring profitable crop yields, protecting the environment and proper livestock management need not be difficult. But there are challenges. The upfront costs of some ‘green’ practices such as agri tech, composting and fencing costs to establish rotational grazing paddocks, can also strain tight budgets, especially for smaller farms. Keeping up with changing environmental legislation is another administrative hassle.
The case for sustainable livestock management

Climate-smart practices in livestock farming include pasture management, grassland restoration, manure management and crop-livestock integration. Adopting sustainable livestock management practices can pay off, not only in increasing soil carbon sequestration but also in lowering fertiliser inputs and reducing water usage. These environment-friendly practices ideally integrate livestock farming with forage and hay crops.

Here are some sustainable livestock management practices you can explore:

  • Manure management: This refers to treating manure in an environmentally sustainable manner. This could include composting, preventing water pollution, and anaerobic digestion to produce methane.
  • Dietary additives: Feed supplements like seaweed or fatty acids may help reduce enteric methane.
  • Precision feeding: Adapting feed to the specific nutritional needs of individual animals can reduce feed waste and costs.
  • Low-emission housing: Design barns that optimise airflow, humidity and manure collection to reduce emissions, energy costs and water pollution.
  • Genetic selection: Select breedstock animals for traits like higher productivity, better feed conversion and resilience.
  • Integrate crops with livestock: Combining crop farming with livestock can create a circular farming system. This minimises waste, reduces external inputs and encourages biodiversity.
Adopting sustainable farming practices can reduce input costs and save resources while being environmentally friendly and fostering self-sustaining approaches.
Rotating livestock: a vital grazing solution

Rotational grazing means giving your pastures a rest to regrow between grazing. The result is healthier roots, lower parasite loads, more nutritious forage and productive hay fields.  Rotating livestock between smaller pastures have benefits:

  • A rest period after grazing allows forage to grow back faster for higher hay yields.
  • With breaks between grazing, plant roots grow deeper adding organic matter to the soil.
  • As animals move between sections, manure fertilises a wider area.
  • Timely rotations prevent overgrazing problems and soil compaction.

These sustainable farming methods have major benefits for long-term viability for both budget and land.

Top tip: Data generated by technology like livestock monitoring devices, soil water sensors and weather stations improves management decisions and can save resources.

Moving to sustainability in hay baling

Using eco-friendly baling supplies is a sustainable choice for hay farmers. Switching to products such as baling twine and hay netting made with recycled materials reduces plastic waste and increases baling performance. Tama offers several sustainable baling product options worth exploring.

If you want to learn more about Tama’s sustainable hay baling products and how you can use them on your farm, get in touch with the team today.

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