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Organic and Low-Input Dairy Farming: Avenues to Enhance Sustainability and Competitiveness in the EU

Scollan, Nigel; Padel, Susanne; Halberg, Niels; Hermansen, J.E.; Nicholas, Pip; Rinne, Marketta; Zanoli, Raffaele; Zollitsch, Werner and Lauwers, Ludwig (2017) Organic and Low-Input Dairy Farming: Avenues to Enhance Sustainability and Competitiveness in the EU. EuroChoices, 16 (3), pp. 40-45.

[thumbnail of Organic and Low-Input Dairy Farming_SOLID_20017-09-25.pdf]
PDF - English

Document available online at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1746-692X.12162/pdf


Whether farming strategies built on continuing input intensification or relying on integrated natural resource management are more sustainable and competitive is at the core of the agricultural development debate. The five-year (2011–16) Sustainable Organic and Low Input Dairying (SOLID) project, funded by the European Commission, involved 25 partners across 10 European countries and was designed to support innovation in European organic and low-input dairy farming. Results show that such systems are very diverse, and need tailor-made farm-specific strategies and related policy measures. This article shows that low-input dairying has country-specific farm characteristics, and is potentially competitive when compared to more intensive dairying systems. Certified organic dairy farms commonly receive a price premium. Such market differentiation to attract a premium is not currently an eligible strategy for low-input systems, but cost savings on input use are possible. Both low-input and organic dairy farming systems can adopt innovative farming strategies to improve competitiveness. SOLID adopted a participatory approach for research and dissemination, by undertaking innovative science to answer practical problems. In working with farmers and other stakeholders, methodologies were developed to identify opportunities and novel strategies to enhance profitability, such as changes in breeding and feeding strategies, and provide support systems for on-farm use.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Dairy cattle
Animal husbandry > Breeding and genetics
Animal husbandry > Production systems > Sheep and goats
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation:Belgium > Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO) - (Merelbeke)
European Union > SOLID
Austria > Univ. BOKU Wien
Denmark > AU - Aarhus University > Faculty of Science and Technology > Department of Agroecology
Denmark > ICROFS - International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems
Italy > Univ. Politecnica delle Marche (prev. Univ. Ancona)
Finland > Luke Natural Resources Institute
UK > Organic Research Centre (ORC)
ISSN:1746-692X online
Deposited By: Krabsen, Janne
ID Code:32160
Deposited On:03 Oct 2017 12:28
Last Modified:05 Feb 2018 10:41
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted
Additional Publishing Information:Early View Article: Online Version of Record published before inclusion in an issue

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