Zeljko Serdar 's Profile
Zeljko Serdar
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Joined:
08/10/2011
Last Updated:
08/10/2011
Location:
Zagreb, Croatia, Croatia
Climate Zone:
Mediterranean
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Male
Web site:
ccres-aquaponics.blogspot.com/





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Silvopasture systems

Posted by Zeljko Serdar 11 days ago

Silvopasture in Croatia

Silvopasture is the intentional combination of trees, forage plants and livestock together as an integrated, intensively-managed system. Silvopasture can provide profitable opportunities for softwood or hardwood timber growers, forest landowners, and livestock producers.

Farmers in Croatia will have the opportunity to see first hand a project which seeks to demonstrate the feasibility and profitability of combining trees, forage crops and livestock.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES) at CCRES Research facility in

Lika-Senj County is managed by Zeljko Serdar. Additional funding over three years will be provided by the Agriculture Program of the CCRES.

Through new plantings and thinning of existing woodlands, CCRES will show three stages in the development of a silvopastoral system. Starting last year, 2016, trees were planted o­n an existing mature pasture. Tube shelters protect the trees from animal damage and improve growing conditions. In this silvopastoral system, pasture crops will provide short term income while tree crops of different rotation lengths will yield medium and long term returns. Nitrogen-fixing forage species, pasture fertilization and animal manure all help improve the soil and tree nutrition. Grazing controls competing brushy species and reduces fire hazard. Trees create a sheltered microclimate to protect animals from heat and cold. Shelter also improves forage quality and lengthens its growing season.

One visible effect of including trees in pastures is the shady haven which they provide for livestock o­n hot summer days. The benefits of providing protection from the hot rays of the summer sun are obvious. It easily follows that animals, which are unable to shelter from the direct sun during the heat of the day, will have to expend energy to deal with their discomfort and/or reduce their feeding activity. Their productivity should decline in proportion to the time spent under these unfavorable conditions. Increased livestock production during hot weather is promoted by CCRES as o­ne of the benefits of having trees. However, there is very little published research available to either verify or disprove this widely held belief.

The prunings of some trees can also be used as fodder, e.g. poplar. The result is better livestock growth. Birds can use conifer trees as perches. From the tops of tree rows, they can easily survey the pasture alleys for insects, worms, and other food items.

Careful observation of animals behavior is necessary to detect and correct potential problems with browsing or rubbing of trees.

In summary, our experience is that silvopastures planted in rows are far superior for livestock production than are either grid or cluster plantings. Trees planted in rows with wide open spaces for pasture production between them, support high forage production and facilitate agricultural operations and animal herding. The large amount of edge created and maintained long into the timber rotation tends to maintain high biodiversity

Electric fencing or individual tree guards may be necessary to protect trees if animals are introduced when they are still small. Fencing is also used in rotational grazing methods to better control forage consumption.

Throughout the duration of the CCRES project at CCRES Research facility, Zeljko Serdar and others will monitor tree growth, crop and animal yields, fuel use and soil fertility. The practical results of the project will be shared with other farmers, both through o­n-site field days and educational displays at other meetings.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

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Zeljko Serdar
Zeljko Serdar : Wind protection is a long-standing indigenous practice in traditional agriculture of many regions. In attempts to improve or establish wind protection schemes with trees, it makes sense to study the link which can be observed between traditional and relatively recent but promising agroforestry practices. And it makes sense as well to try to quantify phenomena taking place in such traditional and such promising practices alike.

In the case study in Croatia reported here, the farmer requested CCRES to assist in providing the agrometeorological input into the set-up of experiments under conditions in farmers' fields, with a system of wind barriers with trees, in irrigated crops in Lika Region. The choice to use multiple tree breaks appears justified by the increase in roughness over a larger area in addition to separate wind break effects, and by the multipurpose use of trees and their products which is economically possible. In larger scale agriculture, where irrigated cash and food crops have to be protected against very strong winds, relatively narrow rows of trees are to be preferred above wider belts as an intercrop or scattered trees or bushes. As mentioned earlier, where mechanical damage from strong winds is the primary limiting factor, the agronomist member of the team should pay primary attention to phenology, growth and yield parameters and visual or even microscopic observations of actual mechanical damage. This will make it possible to observe differences between unprotected crops and protected ones at different distances from belts.

Whether in strip cropping, in using narrow tree rows or in mixed experiments, cost/benefit ratio determinations are absolutely necessary to understand the proper gain from the multipurpose role of trees and from yield (quality) increases due to the trees or crops applied for protection from wind.

Zeljko Serdar, Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)
Posted 8 days ago

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