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  • Feeding questions of organic lamb fattening

    Organic farming has done in line with conventional farming in the Karcag Research Institute of DU CASE since 2001. Our organic farming activities were enhanced with sheep farming and
    grassland management in 2005. We started our study of technology development of organic lamb fattening and the treatment of its economic effect this year. Our goal was to develop
    the elements of the technology to reach a more efficient organic lamb fattening. We also studied what economic advantages the organic sheep farming could realize in the present economic environment. Our studies were carried out between 2005 and 2007. We established that the excellent ewe feeding (good quality of fodder and silage) can decrease the lamb feeding cost between the 2nd and 8th weeks of the lambs’ life. We established that the
    yield of convention lambs are significantly higher than the yield of organic lambs. The cost of organic lamb fodder is significantly lower than the cost a convention lamb fodder, but the profit was higher in the case of convention lamb fattening. The organic lamb fattening technology (without extra price) is not competitive to the conventional lamb fattening technology. We think that the profitability of organic lamb fattening is significantly less than of the convention one. The organic lamb price should be 20-30% higher than the other price to be competitive.  Unfortunatly there is only a little demand for organic lamb and there is no difference between the prices of organic and convention lambs, so organic sheep farmers have worse economic circumstances than conventional sheep farmers. 

  • Risk and Risk Management in the Hungarian Sheep Sector

    The aim of this paper is to give an overview of the risk attitudes of Hungarian sheep producers regarding the changes they have had to go through since the political changes of 1989-1990. Moreover, the objective of this study is to strengthen the empirical basis for risk analysis by identifying the importance of farmers’ risk attitudes. The results of a nationwide survey of over 500 sheep farmers presented a framework of risk attitudes, risk sources and applied risk management techniques of livestock producers.

  • Economic aspects of innovation in sheep breeding

    Innovation, as a factor influencing the success of farming, is of outstanding importance also in agriculture. Only those businesses (enterprises, companies) can be successful in the longrun which are able to adapt the new technological elements and to make their own developments occasionally and make them suitable for practical utilization.
    The innovation activities performed by the enterprises, business organizations can be evaluated at firm (microeconomic) and national economy (macroeconomic) levels. In the case of sheep breeding also, a complex evaluation system should be applied, since this is a sector, which has significant rural development and social impacts. The innovation processes are analysed from the identification of the problem inducing research and development until the return of the invested resources.

  • Yield and sward composition responses of a native grassland to compost application

    A major part of the animal products are based on the grasslands, due to the fact that the grassland ecosystems can be found all over the globe. In places where economical and successful crop production cannot be realized, the grassland based animal husbandry can be an efficient way of food production. In addition these ecosystems have an important role in carbon sequestration, and with their rich flora – and the fauna connected to it – in conservation of biodiversity. The protection of nature, and the sustainable agriculture is getting more and more attention in the European Union, but looking at the consumers’ needs, the production of healthy food cannot be neglected either. Because of these facts, the effects of two specific composts - which are officially authorized in organic farming, in Agri-environment Schemes and Natura 2000 programs – on grass yields and sward compositions were investigated in a field trial. The investigation took place in Hungary, on a natural grassland based on solonetz soil. The first type of compost was a natural one (N) without any additional material and the other one was enriched in phosphorus (E). Both was produced by the research institute, made of sheep manure. Three rates of compost (10 t ha-1, 20 t ha-1,30 t ha-1) were tested on 3 m×10 m experimental plots. Every treatments had four replications and both type of compost had four-four control plots too, this way 32 experimental plots were included in the investigations. The yield of the pasture was harvested two-times (in May and in September) and before cutting the plots measurements on botanical compositions were made. Samples for laboratory analysis were also taken. Dry matter yield and crude protein content was measured in laboratory and with the received data the yield per unit area was calculated. Based on the research results we can say that the application of compost in any dose inflicts higher dry material and crude protein yield. The changes were partly due to some positive changes in sward composition, because of the better nutrient conditions. The research results indicate, that use of organic compost can be an efficient way to increase grass yields in a sustainable way.

  • The effect of compost made of sheep manure on the first cut of a semi-natural grassland

    In an experiment, two types of compost were tested on natural grassland in order to improve the productivity of a natural sward on solonetz soil. Both composts were made of on-farm produced sheep manure, but the second one was enriched in phosphorus. These fertilizers/composts are officially authorized and can be applied in organic farming. Zero application and three rates of fertilizer were tested (10 t ha-1, 20 t ha-1, 30 t ha-1) on 30 m2 experimental plots wit four replications. Dry matter, crude protein and net energy content for maintenance were measured and determined and their yields per unit area were calculated. We found that all the treated plots produced significantly higher yield than the control ones, and in some cases the yields were almost three times higher. However, the optimal compost dose varied, depending on the examined parameter. Based on the evaluation of the experiment results along with rainfall data, it was concluded that, with higher precipitation, the positive effect of the compost application was bigger. The difference between the natural and enriched compost is remarkable, but it has to be mentioned that even the natural compost showed good results; therefore, it is also effective in improving the fertility of grassland.