Diversify the forage system and adapt the herd to cope with climate change

Practice abstract


In the department of Sarthe, under a continental climate, an organic dairy farmer sets up different practices on his farm to face climate change. He spends a lot of time gathering information (trips to Israel, Ireland, England, discussion groups) and observing his grasslands. With repeated droughts, the farmer identifies a “fatigue” of his grasslands. To make them more resilient, he renovates 10 to 12 ha of temporary grasslands and overseeds around 10 ha of permanent grasslands each year. Temporary grasslands are composed of a mixture of spring-sowed alfalfa/red clover and a grazing mixture of multi-species sward: mostly perennial ryegrass then tall fescue or tall fescue/timothy/tall fescue, crimson clover and white clover. He has also introduced chicory and plantain, which makes grazing management more complex but has a good impact on cows’ health (pest control). Seeding of permanent grassland is done in early September with a majority of hybrid ryegrass (Lolium x boucheanum), followed by crimson clover and perennial ryegrass and finally chicory, plantain and white clover. He plans to plant trees in his permanent grasslands. Finally, he seeks to adapt his herd to grazing by crossing breeds: Montbéliarde x Holstein x Swedish Red. Two years ago, he has also introduced Jersey to have lighter and smaller cows. To face difficulties, he has planned to associate with another farmer in 2021.

Additional information

Farming system

organic farming

Domains of innovation

animal type (breed), farm system, forage mixture, landscape, legume management – Annual legumes, legume management – Perennial legumes

Main types of animal

dairy cattle



Product type

Practice abstract



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