The last shudders of winter have finally passed. In this fresh spring newsletter we present the results of completed research as well as new projects and also dig deep into the field. Which research will be presented at our “Open Field Day” (all presentations in Dutch!) that takes place on June 14. Hope to see you then.
Hot off the press
Closing nutrient cycles: INEMAD reveals strategies for improved nutrient use
Manure should clearly be considered as a nutrient-rich resource, rather than waste. But due to legislation and lack of technical know-how, use of manure-based products is still facing roadblocks. In the INEMAD project researchers looked for new developments, provisions and policy measures that enable nutrient cycles to be closed.
SOLIDairy. How competitive are organic and low-input dairy farming?
In order to improve competitiveness in organic and low-input dairying, generic policy support does not always seem to be the best solution. This was the conclusion from the European research project SOLID, in which ILVO helped to characterize “low-input” dairy farming. In SOLID, researchers explored differences in competitiveness between high and low dairying and analysed the impact of policy measures.
Efficient and reliable welfare assessment of Flemish broilers
The existing European protocol (Welfare Quality®) cannot be recommended as a method to judge the welfare of fast-growing Flemish broilers, according to a recent ILVO study. The existing protocol does not provide clear enough discrimination between flocks with better and worse welfare. Further, the weighting of the different welfare indicators does not result in balanced summary of welfare: important welfare problems such as foot pad dermatitis and lameness do not contribute enough to the protocol’s overall wellness classification.
Fertiplus: biochar and/or compost as soil improver?
ILVO has tested biochar, compost and a combination of both in a series of compost, pot and field trials. Adding biochar to the start of composting created a faster composting process with fewer nutrient losses and greenhouse gas emissions. In pot trials, biochar created better disease resistance in strawberry and potato. In the field, compost appeared to be the best way to improve the carbon content in the soil and improve soil quality in the short term without increasing nutrient losses.
From box to tub. The Qualitubfish project.
Transporting fish in tubs or tanks instead of fish boxes has its advantages, according to research by ILVO commissioned by the Flemish Fish Auctions. Instead of transporting fish in small boxes with flake ice, fish is transported in large volumes of chilled water covered by a top layer of ice. Research showed that the preservation of fish in tubs was excellent and even slightly better than in fish boxes, but storage in tubs also affected the water content of the fish. The temperature differences and fluctuations proved limited in tubs. Based on this research, ILVO formulated recommendations for the use of tubs.
Germ-free colostrum? Reduction of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) in cow colostrum
When colostrum is infected with Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP), 90% of the germs can be eliminated on-farm using a curdling process. When an externally-located centrifugation treatment is used, this rate increases to 98%. Both methods keep the required amounts of life-sustaining bioactive proteins while the prevention of intestinal infections is strongly reduced.
Ready, set, go!
A tool to manage dysbacteriosis? Positive impact of zinc on broilers’ intestinal health.
During a 4-year research project, ILVO and UGENT will try to unravel the mechanism of action and the impact of zinc on the intestinal health in broilers. Improved insights into the working mechanism of zinc in the gut may allow a better way to guarantee intestinal health and they will also provide a better way to respond to the broilers’ nutritional needs.
Resilience, resource efficiency, animal care and biodiversity: European challenges for dairy farming
Socio-economic resilience, efficient use of resources, animal care, and biodiversity are the main topics in EuroDairy, a new European network with ILVO and Innovatiesteunpunt as Flemish partners. The project aims to accelerate a sustainable development of the European dairy industry by stimulating, disseminating and applying practice-based innovations.