Michel grew up on a dairy farm in the east of the Netherlands. That is where the passion for dairy started. After high school, Michel went to Wageningen University in the late eighties to study animal breeding, animal husbandry and farm economics. In the nineties Michel started working at the farm management department on the research station for cattle, sheep and horse husbandry. Later this department evolved to the Livestock Research department of Wageningen UR. Next to leading several farm management projects with actual dairy farmers and advisers, Michel is still working at the 200 cow home farm.
Annual Nutrient Cycling Assessment tool in the Dutch dairy sector
Speaker: Michel de Haan – Wageningen UR Livestock Research (NL)
ANCA, Annual Nutrient Cycling Assessment or ‘KringloopWijzer’ (in Dutch) gives Dutch dairy farmers an insight into the cycle that involves land, feed, livestock and manure. The ANCA instrument measures the cycles of nitrogen, phosphorus, greenhouse gases and carbon. It starts with the excretion of nitrogen and phosphorus of the herd. This will be calculated farm specifically. Every farm its own value. Next the uptake of nitrogen and phosphorus with crops will be calculated farm specifically. So the total crop yield can be shown as well.
The ANCA provides useful management information about feeding and crops. The farmer and his adviser get signals if feeding and crop yield can be improved. This helps to reduce mineral losses and to reduce costs for feed, fertilizer and manure.
Apart from a useful management tool, ANCA provides the farmer and government with data about nitrogen and phosphorus excretion. Since the Netherland has many intensive dairy farmers that have to export manure from their farm, less excretion means less manure export. ANCA shows the excretion and provides management information about reducing excretion. Again important for the dairy farmer, reducing manure export saves costs.
The Netherlands is reaching a milestone where the government has to decide if ANCA is scientifically acceptable, with the desirable result that farmers can use the tool for their benefit. At this moment the dairy sector is organizing to use this ANCA system with a common database. To collect data needed for input in ANCA.
Eventually farmers can make improvements, and create a bright and green future!