Project: Strategies for sustainable and robust organic mixed livestock farming

Acronym MIX-ENABLE (Reference Number: 1880)
Duration 01/04/2018 - 01/04/2021
Project Topic Integrating two or more animal species with crop production or agroforestry on a farm potentially provides many benefits including more efficient pasture use and parasite management. However, organic mixed livestock farms (OMLF) tend to specialize or display limited integration between farm components. This limited integration may reduce the practical benefits of OMLF. Therefore, we aim to (i) characterize OMLF in Europe, especially their level of integration between farm components, (ii) assess their sustainability and robustness to adverse events, (iii) compare their performances with those of specialized farms, (iv) integrate the knowledge developed on OMLF into models that can simulate their performances against climatic and economic variability, (v) conduct farm-level experiments to generate knowledge about OMLF (to feed into the models) and (vi) co-design with farmers more sustainable and robust OMLF. We will survey OMLF to collect technical and socio-economic data. Then we will enlarge existing concepts and methods to assess the level of integration between farm components and apply these methods to surveyed OMLF. We will also develop an indicator system for integrated assessment of OMLF and apply it to connect the sustainability and robustness of surveyed OMLF with their level of integration among farm components. In parallel we will conduct farm-level experimentation of organic specialized and mixed livestock situations for the comparison of specific aspects of animal husbandry (e.g. pasture use, animal health). We will extend farm simulation models to OMLF and analyze the benefits and drawbacks of livestock diversity. Using these models, we will develop and implement participatory methods to co-design with farmers sustainable and robust OMLF. To inform practice and policy-making, we will communicate our results to shed light on the potentialities of OMLF and the way to manage it sustainably or the way to reach it starting from a specialized farm.
Website visit project website
Network CORE Organic Cofund
Call CORE Organic Call 2016

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
2 Department of Science and Technology for Agriculture, Forestry, Nature and Energy Partner Italy
3 Walloon Agricultural Research Centre Partner Belgium
4 University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Partner Austria
5 Demeter e.V. Forschungsring Partner Germany
6 Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Partner Sweden
7 Institut de l'élevage Partner France
8 Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Partner Switzerland
9 Institut Technique de l'Agriculture Biologique Partner France
10 Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute, Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries, Institute of Organic Farming Partner Germany