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Pâturer : regards agronomiques et pratiques d’éleveurs. La conduite du pâturage comme révélateur des stratégies d’éleveurs dans le Livradois-Forez

Abstract : Since the 1960s, the improvement of animal feed rations has greatly contributed to the increase in productivity on livestock farms. When grazed forage is a significant component of animal feed rations, especially in regions where the climate varies considerably between seasons, this improvement involves the management of complex balances, in real time, between forage availability and the animals’ needs. Moreover, the livestock farmer must take the various environmental limitations, regulations linked to the preservation of the environment, and injunctions from the sectors that market his products into account in his decisions. The medium mountains of Auvergne where grassland constitutes the feed base for the herds throughout the seasons are a good case study to address these questions. Grasslands here imply specific challenges, and to understand the different ways of managing grassland feed requires an in-depth look at the approaches and practices of livestock farmers. This article focuses on two specific and contrasted grazing systems observed in the Livradois-Forez region: bovines always inside or always in the same meadow. Between zero grazing and continuous grazing, it is shown, using an agronomic analysis framework, how the degree of importance attributed to grazing reflects livestock farmers’ strategies that are not limited to feeding the animals alone, but depend on natural, historical and human factors as well. Thus, large dairy farms have chosen zero grazing to more easily manage their fragmented parcels, to preserve their forage resource and to have a stable and high-quality feed ration. Another livestock farmer has chosen continuous grazing to free up time for a more lucrative crop production unit. These different realities question agricultural models and ways in which to help livestock farmers, which must take account of the fact that the diversity of systems is perhaps a condition for maintaining livestock breeding in these middle mountain regions.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 4:08:43 AM
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Isabelle Boisdon, Claire Balay, Jean-Yves Pailleux, Nathalie Hostiou, Hélène Rapey, et al.. Pâturer : regards agronomiques et pratiques d’éleveurs. La conduite du pâturage comme révélateur des stratégies d’éleveurs dans le Livradois-Forez. Techniques & culture, Paris: Maison des sciences de l'homme, 2015, 63, pp.38-55. ⟨10.4000/tc.7370⟩. ⟨hal-02629701⟩

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