Bringing together grassland and farm scale modelling. Part 1. Characterizing grasslands in farm scale modelling

Mats Höglind, the partners of LiveM task L1.3


This report provides an overview of how grasslands are represented in six different farmscale  models represented in MACSUR. A survey was conducted, followed by a workshop in  which modellers discussed the results of the survey, and identified research challenges and  knowledge gaps. The workshop was attended by grassland as well as livestock specialists.  The investigated models differed largely with respect to how grasslands were represented,  e.g. as regards weather and management factors accounted for, spatial and temporal  resolution, and output variables. All models had grassland modules that simulate DM yield  and herbage N content (or crude protein (CP) content = N content x 6.25). Many models  also simulate P content, whereas only one simulate K content. About half of the model  simulate herbage energy value and/or herbage fibre content and fibre and/or dry matter  digestibility. Critical input data required from grassland models to simulate ruminant  productivity and GHG emissions at farm scale was identified by the workshop participants.  The different types of input data required were ranked in order of importance as regards  their influence on important system outputs. For simulation of ruminant productivity and  GHG emissions, herbage DM yield was ranked as the most important input variable from  grassland models, followed by CP content together with at least one variable describing  herbage fibre characteristics. These findings suggest that work on improving the ability of  the current grassland models with respect to simulation of fibre/energy should be  prioritized in farm-scale modelling aiming at quantifying livestock production and GHG  emissions under different management regimes and climate conditions. More work is also needed on model evaluation, a task that has not been prioritized yet for some models.

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