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Major organic dairy farm types in Germany and their farm, herd, and management characteristics

Ivemeyer, Silvia; Brinkmann, Jan; March, Solveig; Simantke, Christel; Winckler, Christoph and Knierim, Ute (2017) Major organic dairy farm types in Germany and their farm, herd, and management characteristics. Organic Agriculture, online, pp. 1-17.

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Online at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13165-017-0189-3


Organic milk production varies due to topographical and structural farm conditions, but very little information is available about this variation in Germany.
The aim of this study was to identify typical major farm types (MFTs) of German organic dairy farms and to describe their farm, herd, and management characteristics.
Based on data from 204 organic dairy farms from previous studies with representative samples, fourMFTs were identified by cluster analysis. Cluster-criteria were herd size, milk yield, region, and housing system. Identified MFTs were (A) medium-scale herds with low-tomedium milk yield, (B) small-scale herds with low milk yield, (C) large scale herds with high milk yield, and (D) medium-scale herds in Southern Germany with medium milk yield. Descriptive measures of herd management obtained from interviews with 10–11 farms per MFT showed that the MFTs typically differ in more variables than the cluster-criteria. For example, small-scale farms with low milk yield provided the highest and large-scale farms with high milk yield the lowest pasture access, while the amount of concentrate fed showed an inverse association. No significant differences were found regarding herd health indicators. The results showed that different management strategies can lead to similar results regarding herd health and longevity. However, achieving high milk yields in organic dairy herds also requires high input, not only in terms of feed with a high energy density like maize or concentrates but also in terms of preventive health measures. Thus, for research and recommendations variation between different dairy farm types should be taken into account.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Organic dairy cows, Cluster analysis, Udder health, Metabolic disorders, Feeding, Housing, BÖLN, BOELN, BÖL, BOEL, FKZ 14OE003, CORE Organic Plus, OrganicDairyHealth
Agrovoc keywords:
EnglishOrganic dairy cowsUNSPECIFIED
EnglishCluster analysisUNSPECIFIED
EnglishUdder healthUNSPECIFIED
EnglishMetabolic disordersUNSPECIFIED
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Beef cattle
Animal husbandry > Feeding and growth
Animal husbandry > Breeding and genetics
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation: Germany > Federal Organic Farming Scheme - BOELN > Animals > Tiergesundheit
Germany > University of Kassel > Department of Farm Animal Behaviour and Husbandry
Germany > Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries - VTI > Institute of Organic Farming - OEL
H2020 or FP7 Grant Agreement Number:618107
DOI:DOI 10.1007/s13165-017-0189-3
Related Links:http://www.bundesprogramm.de, https://orgprints.org/cgi/search/advanced?addtitle%2Ftitle=&keywords=14OE003&projects=BOEL&_order=bypublication&_action_search=Suchen
Deposited By: Ivemeyer, Dr. Silvia
ID Code:32925
Deposited On:23 May 2018 06:35
Last Modified:23 May 2018 06:35
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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