Characteristics of organic dairy major farm types in seven European countries

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  • Anna Wallenbeck, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
  • Tine Rousing
  • Jan Tind Sørensen
  • A. Bieber, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, FiBL, Department of Livestock Sciences, Frick, Switzerland
  • A. Spengler Neff, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, FiBL, Department of Livestock Sciences, Frick, Switzerland
  • B. Fuerst-Waltl, Department of Sustainable Agricultural Systems, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, Austria
  • C. Winckler, Department of Sustainable Agricultural Systems, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, Austria
  • C. Peiffer, Department of Sustainable Agricultural Systems, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, Austria
  • F. Steininger, ZuchtData EDV-Dienstleistungen GmbH, Vienna, Austria
  • C. Simantke, Section of Farm Animal Behaviour and Husbandry, Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences, Nordbahnhofstraße 1a, University of Kassel, Witzenhausen, Germany
  • S. March, Thuenen-Institute of Organic Farming, Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries, Westerau, Germany
  • J. Brinkmann, Thuenen-Institute of Organic Farming, Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries, Westerau, Germany
  • J. Walczak, ational Research Institute of Animal Production, Balice, Poland
  • P. Wójcik, National Research Institute of Animal Production, Balice, Poland
  • V. Ribikauskas, Department of Food Safety and QualityLithuanian University of Health Sciences, Veterinary Academy, Kaunas, Lithuania
  • S. Wilhelmsson, Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Skara, Sweden
  • T. Skjerve, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
This study aimed to identify organic dairy major farm types (MFTs) in seven European countries, describe these MFTs in an open research database and assess central characteristics of the MFTs. This was conducted in a three-step procedure including (1) Identification of organic MFTs in seven European countries: Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden, based on existing data from dairy databases and consultations with experts within the respective fields of knowledge; (2) Collection of data on farm characteristics, management procedures, production level and herd health from at least 10 farms per MFT and country and (3) Creating an open research database on MFT characteristics, description of essential characteristics of MFTs and assessment of similarities and differences between farms within and across MFTs. The results indicate variations in herd characteristics such as production level, herd size, farm size, housing system, milking system and cow health status between organic dairy farms in these seven European countries. It also indicates variations in management strategies such as feeding, animal health management and recruitment strategies across the organic dairy sector in Europe. These variations seem to be associated with differences between regions and countries in the conditions for organic dairy production, such as topography, land availability and regulations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganic Agriculture - Official journal of The International Society of Organic Agriculture Research
Pages (from-to)1-17
ISSN1879-4238
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2018

    Research areas

  • Organic dairy production, Farm size, Housing, Production level, Health, Feeding, Breeding

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