Projects / Programmes source: ARRS

Farming on species-rich grasslands

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.03.04  Biotechnical sciences  Plant production  Sustainable agriculture 

Code Science Field
B006  Biomedical sciences  Agronomics 

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
grasslands, biodiversity, animal production
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (16)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publications
1.  05658  PhD Drago Babnik  Animal production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  361 
2.  10194  PhD Andraž Čarni  Biology  Researcher  2016 - 2019  554 
3.  15157  PhD Tatjana Čelik  Biology  Researcher  2016 - 2019  229 
4.  08376  PhD Igor Dakskobler  Biology  Researcher  2016 - 2019  673 
5.  38268  PhD Filip Küzmič  Biology  Junior researcher  2016 - 2019  76 
6.  33233  PhD Branko Lukač  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  147 
7.  25012  MSc Ben Moljk  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  352 
8.  17757  Janez Sušin  Plant production  Technician  2016 - 2019  747 
9.  17094  PhD Urban Šilc  Biology  Researcher  2016 - 2019  402 
10.  14548  PhD Špela Velikonja Bolta  Chemistry  Researcher  2016 - 2019  420 
11.  13374  Janko Verbič  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  330 
12.  10035  PhD Jože Verbič  Animal production  Principal Researcher  2016 - 2019  924 
13.  08056  PhD Branko Vreš  Biology  Researcher  2016 - 2019  386 
14.  17853  Barbara Zagorc  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  357 
15.  22606  PhD Tomaž Žnidaršič  Animal production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  186 
16.  11431  MSc Vida Žnidaršič-Pongrac  Chemistry  Technician  2016 - 2019  207 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publications
1.  0401  Agricultural institute of Slovenia  Ljubljana  5055431  19,484 
2.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  58,878 
Species-rich meadows are characterized by special natural and aesthetic value. These are meadows which are on the one hand threatened by intensification while on the other hand they are increasingly at risk of being abandoned from any agricultural use. The aim of the project is to develop an evidence based background for management of these meadows, taking into account the interests of nature conservation and agriculture. Specific objectives of the project are to establish: what kind of mowing/grazing arrangements would be acceptable both in terms of the plant diversity conservation and in terms of the competitiveness of farming, what is the feeding value of forages from the species-rich meadows and how to incorporate it into the diets for livestock, what is the relationship between the criteria adopted for assessing the fertility of the soil (acidity, nutrients in the soil) and the species diversity and to which level it is possible to increase the soil phosphorus and potassium supply without major consequences for the plant species diversity of meadows, how will the non-livestock farming on these areas affect the long-term plant species diversity, soil fertility and feeding value of grassland forage and to supplement the information which is needed for the calculation of payments devoted to maintenance of species-rich grassland. Work will take place in the context of the four working packages (WP). WP1: Long-term effects of grasslands fertilization with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilizers on plant species biodiversity, soil fertility and feeding value of the forage produced The aim of WP1 is to assess the long-term effect of fertilization/non-fertilization with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilizers to changes in plant available nutrients in the soil, on plant species diversity, on forage yields and its feeding value as well as the concentrations of macro and microelements in forage. Work will take place at two longterm fertilization experiments, one in the area of Karst dry grasslands (9 treatments in 4 repetitions, 33 years) and the other in the area of the Central-European cultivated grassland (5 treatments in 4 repetitions, 4 years). In this context (I) all available data which have been obtained so far within both fertilization experiments will be gathered, edited and analyzed, (II) new vegetation/floristic data will be obtained by carrying out field work in the next three vegetation seasons, (III) basic analysis of soil will be performed, (IV) the energy value of forage produced and the concentrations of macro- and microelements in forage will be determined and (V) the analyses/quantification of the long term effect of fertilization will be performed by the means of link between the quality of forage and the species composition of the grasslands. WP2: Management of species-rich meadows and its impact on plant species biodiversity, forage yields and feeding value of forage The aim of WP2 is to find out which farming practices enable the preservation of species-rich meadows, what are yields and feeding value of forages produced on species-rich meadows, what is the relationship between the criteria adopted for assessing the fertility of the soil (acidity, nutrients in the soil) and species diversity of meadows and to gather additional information needed for the calculation of payments for the maintenance of species-rich grassland. Particular attention will be paid to the presence / abundance of invasive alien plant species and endangered plant species. Work will comprise two tasks. In the frame of WP2a: “Analysis of management on species-rich meadows” two experimental plots with varying farming intensity will be selected on each of the 25 selected farms. Botanical species composition, forage yields (all mowings), plant nutrients supply in the soil, the composition and energy value of forage and the content of macro-elements in forages (Ca, P, Mg, K) will be determined. Management practices in exp
Significance for science
Results of the project will directly contribute to the development of science and profession. The project is distinguished by interdisciplinary approach, combining disciplines in the fields of botany, phytocoenology, grassland science, livestock science, and the economics of agriculture. For the development of the profession will be important to establish closer collaboration between researchers participating institutions (Agricultural Institute of Slovenia and Jovan Hadži Institute of Biology SRC SASA), which until now have not had the opportunity for formal cooperation. In addition to the new basic knowledge in farming practices that contribute to the conservation of species-rich meadows, the project will contribute to expanding the horizons of participants and researchers to better competence for a comprehensive solution of complex problems.
Significance for the country
The proposed project team directly respond to the topic Farming on species-rich meadows, which was in the preparation stage of tender identified as relevant. The project is aimed at solving practical problems in specific situations. The northern part of the study area (Posočje) is characterized by a well-organized animal husbandry, which rounds up local processing of the products of specific quality (Agricultural Cooperative Tolmin, Dairy Planika). Farming on hill-mountain farms is hindered mainly by slope farmland. The southern part of the study area (Karst) is characterized by the abandonment of farming. Non-livestock farming is also expanding on these areas (sales of hay) which causes the outflow of plant nutrients to other areas. Farming in karst areas is restricted mainly by summer droughts, mostly in conjunction with the shallow soils. It is expected that the project will find some solutions, for which we can not expect that could be obtained from elsewhere. This is not only for solutions in terms of better utilization of feed produced, but also to contribute to a more reliable evaluation of the payments for the management of species-rich grassland. With farming, which supports the conservation of species-rich meadows, the possibility of promotion of milk and meat of specific quality is also opened.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2018, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2018, final report
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