Characterization of animal husbandry and of livestock Ni-trogen load in South Tyrol
MetadataShow full item record
Within cattle farms’ operations, management of livestock effluents has been considered of particular importance for the last two decades (Provolo, 2012; Vismara et al., 2011). The autonomous Province of South Tyrol (Italy) has no “vulnerable” zones-ZVN (Directive 91/676/EEC) (Peratoner & Stimpfl, 2012; Bottarin & Tappeiner, 2010). Proportionally to area and available UAA, the South Tyrol cattle density and the N-load are higher than the neighboring territories, which actually have ZVN defined. The research provided an estimation of nitrates-criticalities from the livestock sector. We carried out a detailed study of operational characteristics of the breeding farms in South Tyrol at first. All the collected data were analyzed in order to define three levels of characterization: Province, Municipality and single Farm. We identified three “Typical farm” categories in terms of manure, feeding and housing management. Objective of the categorization was the estimation of actual livestock effluents amount and of N-load from livestock sector, given different coefficients of proportionality for each category’s variable. We focused the analysis on sixteen Municipalities, identified for the breeding’s density; for the n° of farms with intensive settings; and for environmental characteristics of the UAA. At the farm level, we considered that balance between nutrients produced by livestock activities (Input) and the utilization-capacity of the same by agricultural lands (Output) can be a suitable method to determine the equilibrium to be achieved together with the tools to be adopted on farm. Five municipalities and several farms belonging to their areas were identified as presenting a potentially critical N-load on soil (kg (N).ha-1 >200). Our study aimed at developing a method able to ensure a sustainable management of livestock effluents in the Alps and to create the conditions required to prevent water pollution and to prepare the local animal husbandry sector to more restrictive Directive.