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Client case Soil 2014

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Client: Agrifirm Feed

Respondent: Toine Heijmans, product manager Forage Management

Research project: Clover climate


Form: On-farm research on growing red clover in forage pastures. In collaboration with: Agrifirm Feed and Barenbrug. Reason: Clover is rich in proteins and provides a cheap alternative to soy. lt also brings nitrogen into the soil, reducing the need for chemical fertiliser. lf the agricultural sector wants to become 'climate neutral', an obvious step is to reduce fertiliser use. Results: The project shows farmers that growing red clover is not only good for the climate, but also for the purse. Clover brings in an additional 100 to 350 euros per hectare, thanks to savings on chemical fertiliser and higher yields of protein-rich grass silage.

Main reason to choose the Louis Bolk Institute:

Toine Heijmans: "I really like the fact that we conduct practical research together, in real practice: not on an experimental farm with optimal conditions, but on two commercial dairy farms. No matter how convincing the data on paper, farmers will always want to see with their own eyes how it works, over several years. I enjoy noticing that we not only learn from The Louis Bolk Institute, but the institute also from us. We are exchanging knowledge and complement each other well: together we can reach a higher level."

What is Agrifirm Feeds' opinion of the Louis Bolk Institute?

"The Louis Bolk lnstitute knows exactly what farmers want and need. These days, dairy farmers are facing a range of problems: roughage and protein are in short supply, chemical fertiliser and soy are getting more expensive, manure regulations are strict, and soil organic matter is decreasing. Growing red clover provides a solution to all of these issues. Our cooperation enables us to directly share research findings with the farmers, which greatly accelerates the practical application of research results."

More about the Louis Bolk Institute

Toine Heijmans, partner of the Louis Bolk Institute in the Clover climate project