Exchange of practices for sustainable use of mountain pastures
Between 21 to 25 September 2015 a study tour was held to exchange experience and good practices for sustainable use of mountain pastures near Raumberg, Austria. The trip was organized by the Society for territorial and environmental prosperity (Bulgaria) and the Institute for plant production and landscape management - HBLFA Raumberg-Gumpenstein (Austria) and was funded by Arkleton trust (UK). Farmers from Godech municipality, representatives of Godech municipality and Local action group "Berkovitza- Godech",as well as STEP experts and volunteers participated in the study tour.
At Thonnerhof family farm
The exchange of information, knowledge and experience transfer took place on farms, pastures, experimental fields and farms of the institute and in the technical school of agriculture and alpine farming. Mr. Karl Buchgraber - Head of Institute for plant production and landscape management presented the results of the trials in the last 50 years for creation of grass mixtures for mountain pastures; different ways of maintenance and conservation of pastures and groundwater protection; livestock breeding in the demonstration farms of the Institute; the advantages of the different livestock types and breeds and their important role in maintaining the biodiversity and landscape of alpine grasslands. Results from the practical experience on the impact of climate change on grassland and the necessary changes to their management were also shared. The results related to the impact of different agricultural practices on maintaining grassland in Natura 2000 sites and the protection of their biodiversity were also shown.
At the fields and farms of the Federal Education and Research Institute Raumberg-Gumpenstein
The group visited farms that implement the grassland management practices and livestock breeding, recommended by the Institute. We visited extensive livestock farmers that shared their experience for the activities that they carry out for maintenance of the pastures, like rotational grazing and mowing, livestock density, spreading of manure, reseeding (if necessary), mowing period, equipment used and the necessary skills of farm employees..
Visit of Bernhard Schaumberger intensive family dairy farm with 60 cows
On the way back we visited the "Lippizaner" horse breeding station for horses in Piber, where we learnt about the rearing horses, their selection and role for maintenance of pastures.
The farmers and the experts of Godech municipality and STEP observed the constantly evolving grassland management practices in Austria that include adaptation to climate change, introduction of new technologies and innovative solutions to optimize working conditions and animals care, sustainable use of natural resources, biodiversity conservation and environment protection.