SLU news

15 million SEK for research on milk from grass and by-products

Published: 23 April 2014

For the first time the Swedish Research Council Formas, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research and Lantmännen's forskningsstiftelse distributes funds together. A project that is relevant to organic farming is “Dairy production based on forages and agricultural by-products” which gets 14.9 of the total of 65 million SEK that was announced.

The announcement was about “Research on sustainable production systems in aquaculture, agriculture and horticulture”. Of the five research projects awarded funding, it is a project at SLU on milk production that is closest to organic production.

Professor Kjell Holtenius at the Department of Animal Nutrition and Management at SLU gets 14.9 million SEK for his project “Dairy production based on forages and agricultural by-products” This is a short description of the project:

“How do we optimize the use of arable land? Land is needed for as well grain and soy as for sustainable energy production. Several calculations, including from FAO, indicate an increased global demand for food by some 70 % by 2050. An increasing competition for cereals and protein-rich products between humans and livestock requires changes in feeding of cattle.

Ruminants can basically make a living solely on roughage and by-products that humans cannot eat, maintaining animal health, economic and environmental impacts. Cows are well-adapted to convert roughage into high-quality protein, and Sweden has good conditions for efficient production of forage. When grains and other plant foods are processed into biofuel or food for humans, there will also be by-products suitable as feed for dairy cows.

The project will create feeding systems for dairy cattle based solely on roughage and by-products. These systems are expected to be both competitive and appropriate from a long-term environmental perspective. Forage that is particularly suitable for matching the nutrient content of the by-products will be produced during the study.