Research outputs

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Main research question/goal

How can vegetable growers and cattle breeders work together to valorize left-overs from vegetables and to optimize crop rotation, while facilitating a cradle-to-cradle set-up? In this project VEGCAT, together with Inagro and several industrial partners, ILVO sets up a group of primarily West Flemish vegetable growers and cattle breeders. The aim of the project was to point towards possibilities of vegetable left-overs as cattle feed, specifically field waste from Brussels sprouts. What is the nutritional value in cattle diets? Can they be stored longer when ensiled with other feed compounds? Which aspects of harvest, processing, preservation, legislation, logistics and profitability present challenges? The long term mindset of this project was to improve use of the limited amount of arable land  with attention for optimal crop rotation, yield etc. to create a more competitive, longer-lasting and environmentally friendly agricultural management.

Research approach

We set up a collaboration within this operational group with a number of Flemish vegetable growers and cattle farmers, harvest equipment manufacturers and scientific experts from ILVO and Inagro. In work package 1, we gathered documented and practical knowledge about the opportunities and challenges regarding use of vegetable waste streams in cattle feed. In work package 2, we will analyzed the nutritional value of a selection of vegetable waste streams. Next, we investigated the possibilities to ensile this biomass with other feed components that are both available at  harvest and are cost efficient. Based on these activities, we will identify research and knowledge questions which need to be tackled in follow-up research.


The results are known: use of the stems of Brussels' sprouts as feed component in cattle feeding proved unfeasible. Therefore, vegetable growers need to search alternative valorization paths for their vegetable waste (outside agriculture, e.g. paper industries). The results of this project were summarized in a brochure and were presented at symposia and an international conference.

This is a project within the agricultural European Innovation Partnership (EIP). This project was financed by the Flemish Government and the European Rural Development Fund. 

Funding provider(s)
Vlaamse Overheid - L&V ADLO
Effective start/end date1/09/1731/08/19

ID: 5446243