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'Investigating marketing opportunities for dairy products from dam rearing systems' - summary of the similarly titled report


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Bickelhaupt, Christine and Verwer, C (2013) 'Investigating marketing opportunities for dairy products from dam rearing systems' - summary of the similarly titled report. Louis Bolk Instituut , Driebergen.

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This publication is the summary of the report "Marketing opportunities for dairy products from dam rearing systems" by Christine Bickelhaupt MSc, Dr. Ir. Cynthia Verwer (Louis Bolk Institute), Dr. Ir. Dianne Hofenk (Wageningen University).
Organic farming systems aim not only for more sustainable farming practices than conventional ones, but also for better welfare of farm animals. Nevertheless, organic dairy cattle husbandry still shows many similarities with the conventional way of farming. These also include the fact that calves get separated from their mother as quickly as possible after birth for various reasons. Dam rearing systems were developed with the aim of better animal welfare by means of keeping the calves with their mother cows for a certain time and allow the calves to suckle their (foster)dam. This study investigated the marketing opportunities for dairy products from Dutch farms with a dam rearing system, since the extra effort of farmers on animal welfare is not valued at the moment by other stakeholders in the supply chain. A stakeholder analysis was undertaken that comprised dairy companies, certification bodies, a dairy farmers' interest group, farmers operating with dam rearing systems and retailers from the organic sector. A systematic qualitative approach was used with semi-structured interviews, and an online questionnaire for retailers . The data was coded for commonalities and differences in opinions, and identified per stakeholder group.
Results reveal that there is no golden standard on dam rearing, which makes it difficult to determine the financial added value of these systems and how to put them on the market. Nevertheless, the added value of dam rearing systems is found in improvements on animal welfare for both calf and cow as well as with respect to the image of the marketable products. Another surplus of the dam rearing system is the farmers' voluntary extra effort on top of the required minimum standards for organic farming. Dam rearing systems improve the animals' performance, especially concerning the calves' development and growth, and decrease the farmers' workload. However, dam rearing systems can also have some disadvantages; the risk of direct disease transmission, the separation process between calf and cow and "losses" in saleable milk are current bottlenecks that need to be dealt with. Control is lost over both the cows' performance and the calves' milk consumption, and extra attention is required during the milking and with respect to the calves' health and nutritional status. Apart from that, adjustments need often to be made in the stable facilities, and more expertise and long-term experience about dam rearing systems is needed.
With respect to the marketing, the small base of farmers operating with dam rearing systems does not allow for product marketing on a larger scale yet. Therefore, direct and regional marketing seem to be best suited, while children and mothers are considered to feel most attracted by products from such farming methods. Based on these results, recommendations are provided.

EPrint Type:Report
Keywords:Organic dairy production, dam rearing systems, animal welfare, stakeholder analysis, marketing opportunities, added value
Subjects: Animal husbandry
Food systems > Markets and trade
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation: Netherlands > Louis Bolk Institute
Deposited By: Broekhuizen, Dr Roelinka
ID Code:26868
Deposited On:02 Sep 2014 13:44
Last Modified:02 Sep 2014 13:44
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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