In this study, researchers examined the impacts of animal agrivoltaics on the thermal comfort and wellbeing experienced by dairy heifers, and the potential benefit of offsetting enteric methane emissions. The shade provided by the solar panels efficiently relieved the heat load on the cattle, cooled off their body surface and skin temperatures, and decreased the costs of thermoregulation. Researchers concluded that 4.1 m2 of solar panels would be necessary to offset the methane emitted by the cows.
This life cycle assessment study investigates the environmental performance of sheep-based agrivoltaic systems and concludes that agrivoltaic systems are superior to conventional ground-mounted PV systems because they have dual purposes and reduce the environmental impacts associated with producing food and electricity.
The main goal of this research was to find optimal management strategies for sheep flocks kept on solar arrays. Researchers studied flock health and productivity parameters, as well as forage production and quality in a multi-year colloborative trial on a 54-acre solar array adjacent to Cornell University campus. The study concluded that stocking densities of 12, 16, and 20 sheep per acre were successful in maintaining the vegetation within solar arrays, while grazing densities between 12 and 16 sheep per acre may be more complementary for flock health and condition.
Emma W. Kampherbeek, Laura E. Webb, Beth J. Reynolds, Seeta A. Sistla,
Marc R. Horney, Raimon Ripoll-Bosch, Jason P. Dubowsky, Zachary D. McFarlane
A study led by Emma Kampherbeek (Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands) highlights multiple benefits of coupling solar energy production to sheep grazing in rangeland systems. This project investigated how sheep use solar arrays as a forage site and the impacts of solar array presence on forage quality in a California Central Coast site with a Mediterranean climate. Sheep with access to solar panels graze more than when they are on nearby native rangeland without an array. This increased foraging behavior is likely driven by a combination of the protection that the array provides the sheep from weather conditions, which increases grazing time, as well as increased protein content and digestibility of forage with the array footprint.
This resource discusses components of managed grazing such as: historical herbivore effects on grasslands, limitations of past research, managing grazing to restore ecological function and management tactics used to achieve sustainable finance goals. All of these considerations relate to aspects of developing AgriSolar operations that include grazing and a need for grazing strategies. Scientists partnering with farmers and ranchers around the world who have improved their land resource base and excel financially have documented how such land managers produce sound environmental, social, and economic outcomes. Many of these producers have used Adaptive Multi-Paddock (AMP) grazing management as a highly effective approach for managing their grazing lands sustainably.
This is a two-page checklist covering the important issues for both shepherds and solar site managers to consider when managing vegetation under solar panels by grazing sheep. The checklist for solar-site operators includes grazing vs. mowing expectations, insurance updates, and arrangement considerations for the shepherd. The checklist for the shepherd includes determination of fencing plans, maintenance vehicle considerations, signage for property containing grazing animals, and vegetation management plans, among others.
Photovoltaic panels can provide artificial shades to protect livestock against intense solar radiation while serving as a clean energy source. This study determined livestock shade preference between photovoltaic panels and the classical 80% blockage cloth material, and quantified the reduction in radiant heat load provided by these shade structures. The results show that the cattle spent more than 70% of their time in the shade during conditions of the study. These results can be useful in determining best practices on agrisolar operations that include livestock.
This American Solar Grazing Association Sheep Grazing Agreement Template includes a variety of essentail considerations and topics when developing a contractual agreement between sheep farmers and solar-site managers, including the limited vegetation management approach. Some components of this contract template are adjustable depending on the context of the agreement, such as fee and payment schedules, and those options are highlighted in red in the document. Other components of the template include sheep health, welfare and management details, contract prices, use of herbicides and pesticides, fencing, signage and various maintenance concerns.
This American Solar Grazing Association Sheep Grazing Agreement Template includes a variety of essential considerations and topics when developing a contractual agreement between sheep farmers and solar-site managers, including the comprehensive vegetation management approach. Some components of this contract template are adjustable depending on the context of the agreement, such as fee and payment schedules, and those options are highlighted in red in the document. Other components of the template include sheep health, welfare and management details, contract prices, use of herbicides and pesticides, fencing, signage and various maintenance concerns.
This manual provides all the resources you need to write your own grazing plan, monitor its efficacy, and adjust your management throughout the grazing season. The manual will also assist in reviewing plans and records, assessing goal achievements and deficiencies, and suggestions on improving for the next season. Also included in this workbook is a step-by-step process for writing an effective grazing plan. The guide provides resources to assist producers with planning, charting and recording grazing throughout the season.