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Animal health of ruminants: A summary of research conducted under the German Federal Programme for Organic Agriculture and other forms of Sustainable Agriculture

Anon, AN (2012) Animal health of ruminants: A summary of research conducted under the German Federal Programme for Organic Agriculture and other forms of Sustainable Agriculture. , Berlin, Eberswalde and Hamstead Marshall.

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Between 2002 and 2003, a survey established the status quo of organic dairy and beef production. A questionnaire was sent to 750 farms, supplemented by an on-site survey of 100 farms that supplied data on livestock performance, profitability, feeding, animal health and housing conditions. In a num-ber of the 74 dairy farms investigated, deficiencies regarding animal welfare were found, because recommendations for disease prevention had been implemented poorly. In the production of suckler cows only a few problems were identified; the main obstacle to further development of organic cattle rearing was considered to be the low prices paid to producers. A further study looked at what preventive measures against the major disease groups of mastitis, lameness, metabolic disorders were used in organic dairy farming, collected data on the actual animal health situation and developed preventive animal health concepts that were made available to advisory services. In the same period, a study of the effect of homeopathic remedies for mastitis in dairy cows showed that the use of dry-cow antibiotics can be reduced, but their use cannot be fully eliminated in problem cases.
Another status analysis from 2003 to 2004 focused on the state of knowledge on issues such as mastitis, fertility, metabolism and claw disorders in dairy cows and selected diseases in pigs and poultry. The surveys showed that the health status of animals in the organic livestock was not signifi-cantly different from that in conventional animal production and that there was a relatively high inci-dence rate, regardless of the production method. Between 2004 and 2005, a vulnerability assess-ment of the acute need for improvement focusing on small ruminants was carried out, leading to various recommendations.
In 2007, building on the previous results, a large, interdisciplinary collaborative project on the health and performance of dairy cows was set up. At the same time the CORE Organic project on health planning for dairy cows (ANIPLAN) was running (also in the UK). The German subproject included the aims to develop animal-health-and-welfare plans (AHW plans) for organic dairy farming, the monitoring of health and welfare of dairy cattle, and the development of advisory tools, including the initiation of regional ‘stable schools’ as an innovative means of communication on the subject of animal health and animal welfare. A further project on stable schools is still ongoing. In 2009, a project was initiated to assist farmers in grazing management with the help of a web-based decision-tree tool. The aim of another ongoing project is to improve udder health in dairy goats by identifying appropriate indicators for the early detection of subclinical mastitis. Further results from the BÖLN research on animal health in ruminants are continuously published at www.bundesprogramm-oekolandbau.de.

EPrint Type:Other
Agrovoc keywords:
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Dairy cattle
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation: Germany > Federal Organic Farming Scheme - BOELN
UK > Organic Research Centre (ORC) - Elm Farm
Related Links:http://www.bundesprogramm-oekolandbau.de
Deposited By: Padel, Dr Susanne
ID Code:21872
Deposited On:21 Dec 2012 15:45
Last Modified:21 Dec 2012 15:45
Document Language:English

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