Grass-based dairy systems – optimizing climate and environmental footprint along the whole feed chain


Improve the agronomic and environmental performance of dairy production by

  • Increasing the potential of grasslands to fix and store carbon dioxide safely belowground
  • Reduce the leaching of nutrients into the groundwater
  • Enhance yields and yield stability across adverse climatic conditions, such as drought
  • Increase forage quality and test the potential to reduce methane emissions from cows



The project will

  • test deep-rooting, yet currently underutilized grass and legume species for their potential to store additional carbon in deeper soil layers, and for their yields and yield stability under drought conditions
  • Screen the genetic variability of these species to develop new cultivars with both excellent agronomic and environmental performance
  • Examine how management (including biorefining) of the grasslands can maximise the digestibility of these underutilized species to make sure that yields from dairy production remain comparable to the current ryegrass-white clover pastures


Expected results

We expect these species to be superior to the current pastures with regards to carbon capture, nutrient leaching and drought tolerance. However, initially, their digestibility is likely to be lower. We do anticipate, however, to be able to improve this via breeding (long-term) and management (short-term). The higher methane emissions from lower digestibility will be controlled using feed additives.

Project information


Aarhus Universitet, Arla, DLF, Danish Agro, Danish Crown, DLG & Københavns Universitet

Project manager:

Uffe Jørgensen, Aarhus Universitet

Start date:


End date:


Technology Readiness Level:




Aarhus universitet logo
DLF logo
Danish crown logo
København Universitet logo
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