Sod-seeding & use of mixtures & cow crossbreeding


The farm ‘Le Palme’ is located in South West Sardinia (Italy).

The main innovation that the farmers adopted in their farm is the sod-seeding. Although they did not have specific technical problems with the traditional soil tillage, they had to spend more than one month in carrying out traditional soil tillage. Moreover, this latter implied the use of a huge amount of fuel and the hard wear of agricultural equipment. Then, they adopted sod-seeding, obtaining other benefits: improvement of the organic mater in the soil and im-proved efficiency in the water use. Moreover, they began to sow legume-grasses mixture to lower the nitrogen fertilisation (oats/Rye grass mixed with Squarroso Clover/Vetch).

Their cows do not graze, and this allows to avoid the compaction of soil and the need for minimum tillage after few years.

Currently, they are also performing a crossbreed-ing programme among their herd of Italian Frisona with other breed characterised by higher fertility rates and disease resistance than the Italian Frisona (Montbéliarde and Swedish Red). They have already obtained an improved milk quality.

Reason for the innovation

  • Solve the problem of a high labour intensity of traditional tillage
  • Improve the economic results of the farm
  • Improve the quality and quantity of milk production of their herd

Farm description


  • Soil types: clay-sandy soils, subalcaline pH
  • Climate: Mediterranean climate
  • Altitude: 60 m a.s.l.
  • Slope: 10%

Grassland management

  • Grazing: no. Forage crops are exclusively mowed
  • Grazing management type: –
  • Length of the grazing season: –
  • Forage conservation type: hay and silage
  • Fertilisation rate: 150 kg ha-1 of inorganic nitrogen


  • Annual Work Unit: 4
  • Agricultural Area: 200 ha, all considered as UAA:
    • 200 ha, legume-based annual mixtures
    • 80 ha, mais under irrigation as 2nd crop after winter crops.
  • Activity: dairy cow breeding (Italian Frisona breed, crossbreeded with Montbéliarde and Swedish Red)
  • Number of heads (LSU): 498
  • Stocking rate referred to total farm area: 2.49 LSU per hectare

Animal performance

  • Milk production: 9500 l per head per year

Why it is working

The farmers found the sod-seeding technique very efficient in their farm: it did not influence the forage dry matter yield or quality

They observed other benefits, for example the reduction of weeds

They travelled Australia and North America to visit farms to learn about the best combination of soil tillage and forage crops that could solve their problems

Additional information

Farming system

conventional farming

Domains of innovation

animal type (breed), forage mixture, machinery, tools

Main types of animal

dairy cattle



Product type

Farmer portrait


English, Italian

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