DARCOF · Research > Darcof II > Organic dairy production systems

Organic dairy production systems

The organisation for Danish organic farmers wants to increase the amount of organic feed for dairy cows. In the latest version of the EU regulations of organic farming, it is stated "that the production of organic milk within the next 5 years has to be based entirely on organically produced feed". Compared to the present situation on a typical Danish organic dairy farm, this will force some changes in feeding and land use.

Feeding based entirely on organic feed will force the use of home-grown roughage. Such a changed feeding pattern can have an impact on the production. It will from a feeding point of view "stress" the cow and possibly influence the production level, milk content and quality, as well as animal health and welfare and vitamin status. It will further increase the difference between organic and conventional production conditions, and thereby create the need for a breeding program specifically designed for organic dairy cows.

If feeding is based solely on home-grown organic feed, the feed ration and the resulting production will to a larger extent be a result of the land use. It is therefore important to compare different feed rations based on the crop production from the same area (hectares) of land.

Prolonged lactation and reduced feeding levels for cows are expected to increase the roughage proportion of the cow's diet, and thereby a higher degree of self-sufficiency in feed. This will increase the efficiency and sustainability in the dairy system. A two times two factorial experiment with prolonged or standard calving interval and standard supplementation or no supplementation to grass-clover grazing/silage will be carried out.

The objective of the project is to investigate the effect of different lactation length, feeding regimes and feed rations to dairy cows based on 100% organic Danish grown feed. It will be investigated through modelling, experiments and farm studies.


Project title
II.1 Organic dairy production systems (ORDAI)

Project leader
Troels Kristensen, Senior scientist
Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Agricultural Systems
P.O. Box 50, DK-8830 Tjele
Phone: +45 89 99 12 33, Fax: +45 89 99 12 00
E-mail: Troels.Kristensen@Agrsci.dk

Project participants
Jakob Sehested, Klaus Lønne Ingvartsen, Kristen Sejrsen, Karen Søegaard, Søren Krogh Jensen and Ivan L. Mao, DIAS