Written Paper

Evolution des prairies et cultures fourragères et de leurs modalités culturales et d'utilisation en France au cours des cinquante dernières années  [2009]

Huyghe, Christian

Access the full text

Over the past fifty years, agriculture, and particularly the rearing of herbivorous livestock, have undergone deep changes, with consequences on the French 'farming landscape': the area and nature of the pastures and forage crops, the cultivation practices and the harvesting and conservation methods have all changed, and are analysed here; questions are thus raised on the necessary adaptations to the future problems. The analysis of the areas covered by the various types of forages show large differences among the regions. The forage intensification was accompanied by the rise of a sector devoted to the production of certified seeds and by new fertilization practices (with a sustained increase of mineral NPK dressings, until the tendency was reversed, with a shift towards lower doses, justified by more accurate calculations, and by accounting for the farmyard sources); other major developments concerned the utilization of the forages (technically and economically) : silage making, round bales, wrapping etc., aimed at improving the feeding value and at making the work less laborious. When all the changes analysed, the question arises of what kinds and processes of innovation will have to be developed to meet the future problems under new social, regulational and bio-physical circumstances.

From the journal

Fourrages (200), 407-428. (2009)