Farm level approach to manage grass yield variation in changing climate in Jokioinen and St. Petersburg

Pellervo Kässi, Olli Niskanen, Hannu Känkänen


Cattle’s feeding is based on grass silage in Northern Europe, but grass growth is highly dependent on weather conditions. In farms decision making, grass area is usually determined by the variation of yield. To be adequate in every situation, the lowest expected yield level determines the cultivated area. Other way to manage the grass yield risk is to increase silage storage capacity over annual consumption. Variation of grass yield in climate data from years 1961-1990 was compared with 15 different climate scenario models simulating years 2046-2065. A model was developed for evaluating the inadequacy risk in terms of cultivated area and storing capacity. The cost of risk is presented and discussed.

In northern Europe a typical farm has storage for roughage consumption of almost one year. In addition, there can be a buffer storage. The  extra storage is to be used before and during the harvest season. New harvest will be fed to animals only after the buffer empty. Shortage in the buffer storage is possible to be filled, when the yield exceeds the target level. For risk management, two alternative mechanisms are given: forage buffer and possibility to alter the field area.

According to our results, there are no significant adverse effects in the cost of risk and implied farm profitability due to climate change. Selecting the risk management scenario of 30 % grass yield risk turned out to be the least cost solution.

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