Three new CORE Organic Plus livestock projects set out to improve organic pasture systems for ruminants. Two projects are focusing on breeding, management and health, the third pro-ject tackles pasture-borne parasitic diseases. They are coordinated by researchers from the universities of Witzenhausen, Aarhus and Edinburgh, respectively.
The transnational collaboration within each project is particularly useful for the work on the breeding questions, as it makes it possible to gather data from breeds that exist only in relatively small numbers regionally. But also the investigation of animal health will benefit from the contributions of several countries.
The project PrOPara aims at strengthening the link between the science on pasture-borne gastrointestinal parasites and farm management practice. Farm surveys and stakeholder participation will be used to collect data on existing parasite control measures. The project further includes a cost-benefit analysis on alternative parasite control measures as well as developing an app to facilitate farmers’ decisions on fasciolosis control strategies. Read more: coreorganicplus.org/research-projects/ PrOPara/
2-ORG-COWS will evaluate the most relevant European dual-purpose cattle breeds, covering an area that includes the Alps (Slovenia, Switzerland), Western Europe (France, Belgium, The Netherlands), Central Europe (Germany, Poland) and Turkey. The analysed data will underpin the implementation of organic breeding strategies. The overall objective includes the adaptation of the dual-purpose cow to pasture-based systems. More information can be found here: http://coreorganicplus.org/research-projects/2-ORG-COWS/
ORGANICDAIRYHEALTH approaches the same domain from another angle, with a stronger focus on health and welfare. The overall aim of this project is to improve udder and metabolic health in organic cattle milk production. In addition to the analysis of breed health characteristics, risk factors for stress will be identified. Together with the investigation of alternatives to antibiotic treatment, ORGANICDAIRYHEALTH will contribute to direct improvements of animal health and welfare. Follow the project here: coreorganicplus.org/research-projects/ ORGANICDAIRYHEALTH/