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Environmental Impacts and Economic Differences in grassland based Organic Dairy Farms in Germany – Modelling the Extremes

By Maria Müller-Lindenlauf, Christine Deittert and Prof. Ulrich Köpke


Differences in environmental impact and economic returns between intensive and low-input organic dairy production are investigated using two simplified model farms with different amounts of concentrates being fed. In four scenarios, ecological and economic effects of restricting the more intensive farm management practice beyond the existing regulations of organic farming are analysed. In the initial situation, the intensive farm has a financial advantage of about 600.00 € per ha compared with the low-input farm, while the environmental risks caused by its production system are higher in several Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) categories. We showed for the model case that limiting livestock density and using regional grown concentrates bring about considerable improvements in LCA results, while restricting the amount of concentrates used does not. These three scenarios result in economic deterioration for the intensive farm. A fourth scenario increasing the share of pasture in daily dry matter intake (DMI) to a minimum of 50% during the grazing season has positive effects environmentally as well as economically

Topics: Biodiversity and ecosystem services, Air and water emissions, Farm economics
Year: 2008
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Provided by: Organic Eprints

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