Mitigation techniques on a dairy cattle farm in Piedmont

La Speranza Cooperative is made up of 5 farms operating in Candiolo, in the province of Turin. It comprises 2 farms specialized mainly in the production of cereals (corn, triticale, sorghum) and forage (ryegrass, alfalfa), and 3 mixed farms combining cereal/forage crops and cattle for milk production. The farm covers 370 ha and raises a total of 1,200 dairy cattle. The cows’ diet is based on cereals and fodder produced on the farm.
The following techniques will be demonstrated:

1. Mitigating gas emissions from the farms by increasing the frequency of slurry removal
Slurry will be withdrawn 12 times/day as opposed to the usual 4 times/day.

2. Effect of natural crust on the reduction of gaseous emissions in outdoor slurry storage.

3. Fertilization strategies and cropping systems.

Different techniques will be demonstrated to optimize the recycling of digestate nutrients and reduce GHG and NH3 emissions:

1. Three crop rotation systems: corn+triticale; corn+straw grass; sorghum+triticale.

2. Acidification of digestate at the time of application using the SyreN system (Biocover A/S, Denmark).

3. Use of nitrification inhibitors (N-LockTM, CORTEVATM agriscience).

4. Two application methods:

-Band application of the digestate with trailling shoes.

-Simultaneous incorporation of slurry and crop residues into the soil.

Technical solutions will be evaluated and selected on the basis of their effectiveness from an environmental point of view (i.e. their ability to provide the necessary protection of soil, water and air resources), as well as from an economic and operating point of view.