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De Marke

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De Marke

Accurate nutrient management is a prerequisite for further development of dairy farming, particularly in the Netherlands. The amount of milk that can be produced will increasingly be defined by the extent to which farmers succeed to limit nutrient losses. At agro-innovation centre De Marke, innovative measures are designed and tested to minimize nutrient losses while exploring the technical limits of efficient nutrient management. Together with farmers and other partners, we work on circular agriculture, nature-inclusive agriculture, climate-robust agriculture and precision agriculture. The dairy farm in Hengelo, Gelderland, produces approximately 800,000 kg of milk with 3.5% protein and 4.5% fat using 80 dairy cows. It is 55 ha sandy soil area, with a combination of (permanent) grassland, maize and arable farming. De Marke is visited by around 4,000 interested people every year. Operations are aimed at a low farm and soil surplus of nitrogen and phosphate for minimal pollution of soil, water and air. They have a long tradition in data collection on circular farming. Test fields are used to search for solutions for better soil quality, mineral utilization and climate change. This includes tests such as: enriching sandy soil with clay, use of various types of compost, fertilizing value of products from manure processing, different crops, such as herbs, clovers and alfalfa, underground irrigation, effect of different types of catch crops, etc. There is limited grazing of dairy cows, approximately 7 hours per day (siesta grazing: twice 3.5 hours) to prevent nitrate leaching, livestock is housed on September 1. During droughts, irrigation is used, which is good for mineral utilization and crop yield. The combination of mechanical and chemical weed control means there is little environmental impact on water and soil. De Marke is specialized on system level. For more specific aspects of Dairy Farming De Marke is liaised with Dairy Campus. Dairy Campus’ in Leeuwarden is unique in the world with 550 dairy cows, six dairy barns, training and meeting facilities and more than 300 hectares of land. The dairy barns all have their own function for the environment, welfare, health, nutrition, breeding and biodiversity. Science and practice go hand in hand on Dairy Campus.