BO-04-002 Organic animal husbandry


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Title BO-04-002 Organic animal husbandry
Period 2005 - 12 / 2007
Status Completed
Research number OND1306788


Policy of Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality
The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality actively stimulates the development of organic farming. Organic farming aims to be an environment-friendly form of agriculture, with a high level of animal welfare. According to the Policy Document on Organic Agriculture for 2005-2007 and the Policy Document 'An organic market to conquer', market parties and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality are aiming to raise the turnover in organic food products to 5% of the total food consumption in The Netherlands in 2007. Furthermore, the Ministry aims for 10% organic agricultural land use in 2010.
In 2004, organic farming comprised 2.1% of the total agricultural area of The Netherlands, with 1469 organic farms, of which 305 dairy farms, 171 farms with beef cattle, 56 farms with breeding sows, 87 with finishing pigs, 16 poultry farms with broilers, 112 poultry farms for eggs, 72 goat farms and 15 farms with sheep for milk production.
Consumers spent 76.5 mln on fresh organic dairy products (2.8% of total), nearly 20 mln on cheese (1.4% of total), 11,2 mln on beef (2.7% of total), 13.2 mln on organic pork (1.7% of total), 5.5 mln on poultry meat (1.1% of total) and 10.3 mln on eggs (4.5% of total).
To achieve the goals set in the Policy documents, a large input of research and extension is required. Furthermore consumption of organic products is promoted.
The organic sector itself regulates the majority of the research, extension and promotion. For this, a Task Force Organic Market Development and a knowledge network for organic agriculture and food are active

Knowledge requirements:
For organic animal husbandry in The Netherlands, farming itself has some major constraints, as well as chain related constraints. Applied and more fundamental research and knowledge transfer from research to practise and vice versa, are required to achieve the goals of the organic sector. To attune the research efforts as much as possible to the requirements of the sector, and maximise implementation of results, the working groups of Biologica, the Dutch umbrella organisation for organic farming and food, actively direct and support research and extension. Furthermore, each project is supported by at least two representatives of the sector. This new knowledge network is by itself a project, an evolving process to achieve optimal interaction between research and extension institutes and the organic sector as a whole (including farmers, traders, manufacturers and retailers).

Knowledge tasks:
For 2006 research topics have been listed and prioritised by the working groups of Biologica. Since Biologica asks for a high level of flexibility, the duration of the projects is often one year only. The main questions to be addressed are:
· How to optimise research and knowledge transfer between research institutes, extension, education and practise of organic farming.
· How to use proven positive traits of organic animal husbandry compared to conventional farming in marketing strategies.
· How to increase animal health and welfare by increasing (natural) resistance, complementary products (fytotherapy, probiotics) or management.
· How to feed animals with 100% organic products. Which protein rich fodder crops can be grown in The Netherlands, fulfilling the special needs of pigs and poultry.
· How can dairy farming deliver organic manure to crop farmers without compromising its own soil quality.
· How can organic pig farming deliver the meat quality the market wants, which aspects are essential (genotype, feed, slaughter strategy).
· How to improve the survival rate of piglets in free ranging systems (housing, management, genotype).
· How to minimise PCB and dioxin levels in eggs from free ranging poultry.
· How can poultry outdoor runs be developed in such a way that the animals do use them, without harming the environment or animal health?
· Which measures during rearing can prevent chickens from feather pecking during the laying period?

Publications of this programme are available Here

Abstract (NL)

Dit programma wil bijdragen aan het versterken en opschalen van de biologische veehouderij, en daarmee aan de beleidsdoelstelling van 10% biologisch areaal in 2010 en een biologisch marktaandeel van 5% van de consumentenbestedingen in 2007 (beleidsnota Biologische landbouw 2005-2007). Het programma beoogt dit te realiseren met een sterk vraaggestuurde aanpak en directe begeleiding van het onderzoek en kenniscirculatie door vertegenwoordigers van de biologische veehouderij (primaire producenten en overige ketenpartijen), ondersteund door de Productwerkgroepen van Biologica. Kenniscirculatie (doorstroming van nieuwe kennis, benutting van bestaande formele kennis en ervaringskennis uit de praktijk) neemt hierbij een belangrijke plaats in. In het algemeen wordt gestreefd naar praktische, direct toepasbare oplossingen voor knelpunten die de duurzaamheid of de groei van biologische veehouderij remmen. Daarnaast wordt gewerkt aan innovatieve methoden of middelen in de biologische sector waar ook de gangbare veehouderij van kan profiteren (kraamkamerfunctie).

Publicaties bij dit programma zijn beschikbaar via deze Link

Related organisations

Related people

Project leader J.B. Pinxterhuis

Related research (upper level)


D18220 Animal husbandry
D22400 Ecology

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