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Assessing the sustainability of EU dairy farms with different management systems and husbandry practices

By Katharine Leach, Catherine L Gerrard, Anne Braad Kudahl, Arja Nykänen, Mette Vaarst, Roswitha Weissensteiner and Susanne Padel


The EU funded SOLID project supports research which will contribute to the competitiveness of organic and low input dairy systems, and increase their sustainability. There are many aspects of the sustainability of dairy farms, relating to economic, environmental and social dimensions, and methods of animal husbandry can affect all of these. A UK spreadsheet based tool for rapid assessment of the whole farm was adapted for application on a range of organic and low input dairy farms across the EU. This tool was used to assess approximately ten organic dairy farms in each of four EU countries. Data on farm management practices collected in face to face interviews with farmers were entered and the tool then calculated a composite score for each of 11 separate “spurs” or dimensions contributing to stainability. The results can be used to stimulate discussion between farmers and point to areas where farm sustainability might be improved or topics that would benefit from further research

Topics: Dairy cattle, Indicators and other value-laden measures, Feeding and growth, Health and welfare, Environmental aspects
Year: 2012
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Organic Eprints

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