Project: Young stock and cows benefit from natural feeding systems

Acronym ProYoungStock (Reference Number: 1916)
Duration 01/04/2018 - 01/04/2021
Project Topic There is a great potential to ameliorate young stock rearing systems concerning animal welfare-friendly husbandry, feeding and disease prevention. This project aims to identify approaches on different levels: Surveys on dairy calf rearing systems with cow-calf contact practised in several European countries will provide information on distribution, diversity and success of such systems, and on barriers or support due to national standards. Economic modelling will show their impacts on gross-margins. On-farm trials with 2-3 selected systems will evaluate their impact on animal welfare including health, production, economic and work load parameters compared to common systems. Veal fattening with foster cows will be compared to common automatic feeders on 3 commercial farms. On 5 organic farms effects of feeding increased milk levels on welfare, behaviour, and performance of replacement calves will be analysed in comparison to common feeding. It will be investigated whether the content of immunoglobulins in colostrum and milk can be stimulated via cow-calf contact or via feed supplements. To study long-term effects of young stock rearing methods on health and performance later in life, different feeding (silage vs. non-silage) and grazing strategies (extensive vs. intensive) will be studied. The impact of plant bioactive compounds on protein use efficiency, animals’ immune response, and product quality will be assessed. A result of this project will be recommendations on the implementation of animal friendly and efficient dairy calf rearing and fattening systems in which use of antibiotics and anthelmintics is minimised. Details on novel rearing systems and their impacts will be known and published in peer reviewed journals and on scientific conferences. Best practice sharing will be promoted via workshops, leaflets and websites for farmers and advisors. This will help to solve welfare problems in current calf rearing.
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Network CORE Organic Cofund
Call CORE Organic Call 2016

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Coordinator Switzerland
2 Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding Polish Academy of Sciences Partner Poland
3 UL, Biotechnical Faculty Partner Slovenia
4 Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Partner Sweden
5 University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Partner Austria
6 UMR1213 Herbivore Partner France
7 Ucat, University of Catania - Di3A Partner Italy
8 University Kassel Partner Germany