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IMPROVEMENT OF ANIMAL HEALTH INDICATORS IN GERMAN ORGANIC DAIRY FARMS THROUGH 'STABLE SCHOOLS'

March, Solveig; Brinkmann, Jan and Winckler, Christoph (2014) IMPROVEMENT OF ANIMAL HEALTH INDICATORS IN GERMAN ORGANIC DAIRY FARMS THROUGH 'STABLE SCHOOLS'. In: Rahmann, G. and Aksoy, U. (Eds.) Building Organic Bridges, Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, Braunschweig, Germany, 2, Thuenen Report, no. 20, pp. 339-342.

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Summary

It was the aim of a pilot study on the implementation of ‘stable schools’ in Germany (1) to initiate 4 regional stable schools focusing on animal health with in total 19 German organic dairy farms and to assess the farm health status using animal-based indicators as basic information for the stable schools, (2) to evaluate the implementation of measures and improvements of herd health within the three year project period and, (3) to assess the farmers’ perceptions regarding the stable school concept. A modified approach was used by providing the farmers with objectively assessed information on the health status of each participating farm.
This paper reports on the implementation of measures as well as the improvement achieved due to the stable schools process.
In total 123 measures were regarded useful by the host farmers after the group discussions. Metabolic state and udder health were most commonly addressed. The participating farmers showed a positive attitude towards this tool; they appreciated the joint search for effective and feasible measures and evaluated the self-determined approach in the stable school as highly motivating. Accordingly, the compliance regarding implementation was high. More than two thirds of all recommendations were implemented partly or completely. The degree of implementation was similar to the level achieved in other intervention studies using a face-to-face advice.
Across all farms, average herd size increased significantly, whilst milk yield and herd age did not change during the project. Cleanliness of the cows’ udders and bellies improved significantly, whilst cleanliness of other body parts as well as other health indicators remained unchanged.
In all nine farms which had implemented measures to improve udder health, the somatic cell score decreased significantly whilst treatment incidence for mastitis and antibiotic drying-off did not change. At the same time the milk yield increased significantly.
In conclusion, these findings provide evidence for improvements of the health situation in commercial organic dairy farms in response to farm-individual intervention measures through the Stable School approach under practical conditions. However, additional studies are necessary to investigate the implementation of stable schools in a real-world setting e.g. by advisory services.


EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:Stable Schools, dairy cattle, animal health, intervention study, knowledge exchange
Agrovoc keywords:
LanguageValueURI
EnglishAnimal healthhttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_431
EnglishDairy cattlehttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_2108
Englishknowledge exchangeUNSPECIFIED
Englishstable schoolsUNSPECIFIED
Englishintervention studyUNSPECIFIED
Subjects:"Organics" in general
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Knowledge management > Education, extension and communication
Research affiliation: Germany > Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries - VTI > Institute of Organic Farming - OEL
International Conferences > 2014: 18th IFOAM OWC Scientific Track: 4th ISOFAR Scientific Conference
ISBN:978-3-86576-128-6
DOI:10.3220/REP_20_1_2014
Deposited By: March, Dr. Solveig
ID Code:23332
Deposited On:16 Oct 2014 12:02
Last Modified:16 Oct 2014 12:02
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted
Additional Publishing Information:urn:nbn:de:gbv:253-201407-dn053621-1

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