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Technical and economic performances in organic sheep meat production: observations of breeding networks and experimental farms


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BENOIT, M. and LAIGNEL, G. (2009) Technical and economic performances in organic sheep meat production: observations of breeding networks and experimental farms. [Performances techniques et économiques en élevage ovin viande biologique : observations en réseaux d’élevage et fermes expérimentales.] Carrefours de l'Innovation Agronomique, 4, pp. 151-163.

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Online at: http://www.inra.fr/ciag/revue_innovations_agronomiques/volume_4_janvier_2009


A network of 42 sheep farms (including 13 in organic farming (OF)) shows that the gross margin per ewe is 24% lower in OF in the mountains because of high food costs and comparable in the lowlands because of the high level of food self-sufficiency based on the cultivation of fodder and grain; incomes are identical when structural costs are comparable. An analysis of four demonstration farms shows that, given the different conditions, specific livestock management is required depending on the presence of tillable land or not. If their proportion is limited, lambings are equally distributed between spring and autumn in order to maximise fodder self-sufficiency. When crops are possible, lambings are focused on autumn (with good sale prices), which requires the increased use of concentrates, some of which are produced on the farm. A five-year study revealed that these strategies lead to a convergence of between 80 and 90% food self-sufficiency. In suckling livestock in organic as well as conventional farming systems, high levels of forage and food self-sufficiency are essential to ensure economic viability within the context of rising grain prices.

Summary translation

Un réseau de 42 fermes ovines (13 en AB) montre qu’en montagne, les marges par brebis sont
inférieures de 24% en AB du fait de coûts alimentaires très élevés et comparables en plaine grâce à une forte autonomie alimentaire (culture de fourrages et de céréales). L’analyse de 4 fermes de démonstration montre que face à des contextes variés, des stratégies de conduite d’élevage spécifiques s’imposent, basées sur la présence de terres labourables ou non. Si leur proportion est limitée, les mises bas sont réparties également entre le printemps et l’automne afin de maximiser l’autonomie fourragère. Lorsque des cultures sont possibles, les mises bas sont centrées sur l’automne, avec une bonne valorisation des agneaux. En élevage allaitant, bio mais aussi conventionnel, de hauts niveaux d’autonomie fourragère et alimentaire sont aujourd’hui incontournables pour assurer la viabilité économique.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:sheep meat; technico-economic results; economy; organic farming; self-sufficiency.
Subjects: Values, standards and certification > Evaluation of inputs
Animal husbandry > Production systems > Sheep and goats
Values, standards and certification > Assessment of impacts and risks
Farming Systems > Farm economics
Research affiliation: France > INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
Related Links:http://www1.montpellier.inra.fr/dinabio/
Deposited By: PENVERN, Servane
ID Code:15459
Deposited On:27 Feb 2009
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:39
Document Language:French/Francais
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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