Holistic approach: high quality seed propagation and groundwater protection


Holistic approach to include temporary grassland into the crop rotation in combination with seed propagation achieving outstanding germination capabilities and degrees of purity in a plowless strip-till system and undersown grasses in silage maize. Part of the undersown grass-es in silage maize are used to graze sheep. Additionally the farmer conducts his own field trials to gain site specific knowledge to optimize the management. The undersown grasses in silage maize are used successfully to minimize wind erosion and nitrate leaching.

Remaining nitrogen in the soil in monitored at the beginning of every leaching period, as the farmer works in a water protection area. Thus the reduction of Nmin in autumn is quantified.

Processing products and environment protection

For seed propagation small grain cereals a s previous crop are preferable to maize; for perennial ryegrass on the sandy soils the use of a roller was essential to establish the grass satisfactory. The plowless cultivation reduced wind erosion. The combination of undersown grasses in silage maize with a plowless system was tested on the farm itself, as well as different strategies to establish the undersown grasses. The seeds for the grass were applied via fertilizer spreader short before closure of rows. High germination capacity of the seeds is vital for successful undersown grasses

Farm description


  • Soil type: Mainly sandy soils
  • Climate: Temperate oceanic climate
  • Altitude: 12 m a.s.l. ; no slope

Grassland management

  • Mainly temporary grassland embedded into the crop rotation and under sown grasses in silage maize; seed propagation
  • Grazing : Yes, for cattle rearing
  • Rotational stocking


  • Annual Work Unit: 4.5
  • Agricultural Area : 200 ha UAA
  • Including 40 ha silage maize with under sown grasses, 20 ha seed propagation, 20 ha permanent grassland; the other area is used for temporary grassland , red clover and small grain cereals (mainly rye) ; the precise area varies according to the crop rotation
  • Stocking rate: 1.6 LU /ha UAA

Animal performance

  • 8500 l milk /year/cow

Why it is working

The farmer works in close contact with advisors and technicians for seed production and to get good contracts; The close contact with the technicians is necessary to ensure high quality harvest technique and optimized storage and processing of the seeds. The soil has to be well kept to achieve the high degrees of purity. The farmer has to be able to plan the use of his agricultural area ahead at least for three years, especially to ensure a successful combination with under sown grass in silage maize. Still he has to adopt these plans flexibly.

Additional information

Farming system

conventional farming

Domains of innovation

farm system

Main types of animal

dairy cattle



Product type

Farmer portrait


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