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SUSTAINABILITY OF ORGANIC DAIRYING IN CANADA

Lynch, Derek H; Roberts, Cory and Voroney, Paul (2006) SUSTAINABILITY OF ORGANIC DAIRYING IN CANADA. Paper at: Joint Organic Congress, Odense, Denmark, May 30-31, 2006.

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Summary

The distinctive production characteristics and economic performance of organic dairy farms in central Canada has been documented, but the sustainability of these systems with respect to farm nutrient flows is less well understood. We have assessed farm management, livestock productivity, and nutrient status of fifteen long term (>10y) certified organic dairy farms in Ontario, Canada. Farm size, herd size and herd productivity averaged 110 ha, 52 cows and 8207 kg milk cow yr-1, respectively. Cropping composition differed little between farms, with pasture and forage accounting for an average of 65% of the cropped landbase. Annual farm nutrient budgets (inputs-outputs) over two years (2003-2005) for N, P and K were 52, 1 and 11 kg ha-1 yr-1, respectively. The majority (13) of farms had positive K budgets with half of the farms recording negative annual P budgets. Nutrient budget results were supported by soil fertility data generated by sampling 80% of farm fields (n=225). Overall, these results contrast strongly with large nutrient surpluses reported for more intensive, confinement-based dairy farms throughout N. America, but suggest a challenge to remain sustainable over the longer term for the 50% of these farms adopting a broadly ‘self-sufficient’ approach, and importing little P (0 - 2.5 kg ha-1 yr-1) as feed and feed supplements.


EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Dairy cattle
Farming Systems > Farm nutrient management
Research affiliation: International Conferences > 2006: Joint Organic Congress > Theme 7: Development of livestock production systems
Deposited By: Lynch, Dr Derek
ID Code:7461
Deposited On:10 May 2006
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:32
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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